1. shale quarters
2. they carry
3. the skein, our cairn
4. moraine halves
5. it swept
6. the kept

Download entire release (Zip file 51 MB).
catalog number: moar.p32
artist: JASPER LEYLAND
title: Sediments
format: MP3
status: not available
Release notes by James Brewster (not to be confused with Jono
Brewster)

Jasper Leyland is the alias of Jono Brewster, based in York,
England. 'Sediments' is his fourth album, and in my opinion
also his best so far. What he has really honed to perfection on
this release is the unity between the melodic elements and the
fragments of field recordings and found sounds which together
make up his sound. The latter elements have truly become part
of the instruments and melodies, as if trapped inside during
the forging process, like particles fixed in blown glass or slide
film. Inseparable like spores in amber or grain in timber.

The title refers to the settling of small particles in water, and
this connects with the music on two levels. Sonically the album
evokes these particles before they become layers of sediment,
when they are still individual specks of matter; hanging in the
water and at one with it in parallel to the sonic unity mentioned
above. Jono's production illuminates them as viewed from the
bottom of a stream, and pierced through by sunshine from the
world above.

The idea of sediments also chimes with his long-expressed
desire to refine and distill his sound to its essence, and create
a genuinely coherent album which makes total sense as one. A
similar process to the coming to rest of particles in water,
gradually sifted and sorted as elements with an affinity are
grouped together. With 'Sediments' he has achieved this aim of
a release which sounds like it could have been made in a single
sitting.

When trying to put together something which works as a whole
there is a thin line between coherence and variation – not too
incongruous, yet not too samey either. Fortunately 'Sediments'
is defined by its deft handling of such hard-to-strike balances.
I've already mentioned the unity between the different
elements of the sound, and Jono has not only achieved the
right balance here but also purely in terms of how many
elements are employed at any one time. The sound can be
described as minimal in the sense that it is carefully thought
through and thus absent of anything unnecessary. Yet it is
never skeletal or barren, and always warm. I think it's perfect,
exactly right, and needs no more or no less. These kind of
balances are very hard to strike well, but when achieved they
seem so effortless that you don't notice the difficulty of it. All
that remains are the results of the process, which are a joy to
listen to.

The unity of elements and minimal balance to the album are
typified by the second track, 'They carry'. There are creakings
deep within the piece, like an unknown creature stirring in the
core of a pebble. Then an exquisitely timed guitar progression,
both inhabited and surrounded by the creature's murmurs. A
series of gestures where each touch of the instrument is worth
waiting for, and where the wait between each touch is perfectly
weighted.

'Sediments' is beautiful and this is nowhere more so than in
'The Skein, Our Cairn'. Joyful sweeps of zither resonance
emerge halfway through, flitting back and forth like pond
insects dancing on surface tension. The pristine, brittle drones
of 'It Swept' are like an ostensibly featureless landscape, where
the longer you look the more its endless contours, grains and
details fascinate.

The crafted, atmospheric sound sketches which open 'Moraine
Halves' and 'The Kept' mark the most obvious development on
from previous Jasper Leyland releases, and a direction in which
I hope he continues. 'Sediments' is also a satisfying
progression on from 2008's 'Wake' (12x50), in that it’s less
murky and coarse yet still retains some of the deliberate
roughness to the textures. It is simultaneously muffled and
rough yet pristine and lush. This album is perfectly judged and,
as I may have mentioned before, a joy to listen to.
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