Electronic Recordings from Maui Jungle Vol. 1

Anthony Child

Editions Mego, 2015

When I asked Discogs to give me a random item from my collection it gave me Vol. 2—figured I should do this one first (I doubt it matters, but, eh).

So: do you like jungle sound effects with your synth-minimal-ambient-experimental music? Boy has Anthony got the record(s) for you.

Not every synth-minimal-ambient-experimental album probably sounds great at high volume, but this one sure does. Maybe that’s just a trait of this kind of modular-synthesis recording.

I’m going to quote from the Editions Mego blurb here:

As the title already indicates, it’s a very special setting that he has chosen for this endeavour: The jungle of Maui seems to have acted as a stimulus for this exercise in concentration and trance. The intertwining of the electronic instrument that meets the sublime sounds of nature, opens up an intimate resonant chamber. Birds, insects and raindrops are allowed to break through, while you can sense the thick, humid air and deep colours of the surrounding resonating in the pastose synth lines.

The blurb goes on to describe the album as “unpretentious”, which I think is an interesting take. Seems to imply that there’s a real potential for this kind of music to be pretentious, and, well, that’s probably true. I mean, it’s not pretentious but not quite not not pretentious. … I wonder if I found out that this music was created by lugging all the equipment into the deep jungle and recording alongside the sounds in the field, would that make it more or less pretentious?

There’s about half-and-half quick-moving arpeggiated runs (like “All Around & Inside”) and slower droney pieces (like the fifteen-minute “Eternal Note”). I found I could work to this music pretty well.

As an aside, I have no idea how people even get into modular synthesis. It ain’t taught it schools, that’s for sure. There’s got to be more than getting lucky enough to have a parent with a basement full of racks that you can play around with at a young age. I’m sure it does involve luck, though, what doesn’t? I don’t really want to get into modular synths because (a) it’s expensive and (b) I have no idea where to start and (c) there’s an infinity of stuff you can do on a modern computer with software now, and that honestly seems more interesting to me. I have plans for this in the works, but I won’t get into it now.

Overall OK.