Jenny Graf Sheppard's New Sounds | Bleader

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Jenny Graf Sheppard's New Sounds

Posted By on 08.18.10 at 01:30 PM

Jenny Graf Sheppard
  • Jenny Graf Sheppard
During her years in Chicago Jenny Graf Sheppard, who goes mostly by the name J. Graf these days, worked two ends of the experimental music spectrum, playing art rock in Bride of No No and making weird songlike soundscapes in Metalux. She moved to Baltimore back in 2004, and while her involvement in Metalux continues with long-time collaborator MV Carbon (now in New York), Graf has spent much of her time since then producing solo work.

You can hear some of the Metalux trademarks—alien sounding-vocals, maddeningly repetitive guitar licks—on her recent Os (Wachsender Prozess), but she’s convincingly carved out her own turf. The album contains six multi-layered hallucinations mixing sustained acidic tones, intricate single-note guitar lines, queasy synth patterns, sludgy globules of searing noise, percussive interjections, brittle banjo arpeggios, trippy folk-derived vocal melodies, and some unidentifiable sounds produced on the “tranoe,” an electronic instrument built by Peter Blasser. In her PR Graf says the music focuses on “the notion of sound ‘states,’ the ability of sound to, through the medium of the performer, illicit modes of being in the listener.” I’m not totally sure what that might look like to Graf, but the album does project an impressive variety of moods and environments. You can listen to a couple tracks on at Graf's MySpace page.

Graf has also released a strong duo album with guitarist and singer Marcia Bassett (aka Zaïmph) called Peradam (Utech), which transplants her brand of sonic hypnosis into a more visceral, aggressive realm. Like the work on Os, the three pieces have an amorphous vibe, built around organically drifting clouds of sound that open up here and there with sprinklings of song-like action. But these pieces are rich in shifting detail, conjuring space in a occasionally frightening manner.

J. Graf performs tonight at the Mopery.

Today’s playlist:

Fred Anderson, Black Horn Long Gone (Southport)
Antye Greie, Einzelkämpfer (AGF Producktion)
Bottomless Pit, Hammer of the Gods (Comedy Minus One)
Betty Davis, Nasty Gal (Light in the Attic)
Kevin Figes Quartet, Circular Motion (Edition)

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