Jasmine Guffond: Yellow Bell (LP, Sonic Pieces, Jan 2015)

This one is right on the cusp of the modern classical / ambient thing. Strings and electronics blend seamlessly together to shimmering, atmospheric effect. The sleeve notes explain that the title refers to “an ancient Chinese tradition… of a fundamental tone that relates to society’s place in the cosmic order”: while I don’t think there are any actual bells on the record, there is definitely a sort of sustained resonance running through it. Composed, recorded, and produced by Guffond, and mastered by the ubiquitous Nils Frahm — and, in this limited vinyl edition, attractively packaged with a fabric insert in the sleeve — it’s all very nicely put together. If I have one criticism, it’s that it sounds just a little bit too much like Grouper, especially on the occasional floaty vocal numbers (the album’s weakest points, for me)… and it lacks the magic of Liz Harris’s finest work (like, say, Alien Observer / Dream Loss).

I bought this from Norman Records.

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