The stone tape (38’02’')
Possibly, all it took was a couple of claps echoing as a starting point, just as is signalled in the memento of synchronicity and departure in a film shot. It was with this accelerated sonic gesture that Jim O’Rourke understood the acoustics of the Tryptic Room at the Tibães monastery, and designed the storyboard for his musical film. Despite being half a world away, space is a prominent element, like a blank musical score, in the architecture of his compositions. That is where his sound inscribes itself, it’s there that we hear what he wanted to tell us, in perfect conditions. In 38 minutes, his piece moves in time but especially in space, like an organism that resonates and feeds off its own sound. What we listen to is a translucent musical body that conjures up ghostly sounds and processes them with the skill of an artisan finishing his life’s grease work. There is almost an electroacoustic rite to contemplate, a ceremony of autumnal colours that imbue a landscape formed by suggestions, insinuations and propositions. Metallic vibrations, lost voices, orchestral shreds in ambient suspension, all placed in the right spot, in a dramaturgy designed for framing, to be received with natural vanity into an official discography. Those who follow the “Steamroom” series, available on Bandcamp, knows the rigour of composition of someone who grew up listening to the masters before coming forward as an author. Maybe for that very reason, even being in Kobuchizawa, Jim O’Rourke wanted to listen to his room in Braga. Listening, above all else.
by Pedro Santos
Jim O’rourke has been involved in music and film since the late 80’s, as composer, producer, engineer and collaborator. He has produced records for Stereolab, Sonic Youth, Wilco, John Fahey, amongst others. His own music has been released by Drag City, Tzadik, Editions Mego, and others. He has scored films for Werner Herzog, Koji Wakamatsu and others. Since 2013 he has released the bulk of his own work on Steamroom.Bandcamp.com.