CD-R, Zhelezobeton, 2009
“Rural Sprawl” is the meeting of two very prolific experimental minds: Aidan Baker and Jim DeJong / The Infant Cycle, both hailing from Ontario. Here we are treated to four lengthy excursions, the first two taken from the “Rural” CD-R, previously released in 2002 on Blade Records, and the last two pieces recorded in 2005, but subsequently unreleased.
Using the cover design as an initial focal point: a serene, almost haunting image of a battered wooden house staring down the encompassing landscape of cool breezy plains, I am transcended into this solitary patch of earth feeling both abandoned and embraced by the gentle rapture of electronic sounds. A contrast of despair and elation seem to coexist throughout these songs, with moments of beauty and tranquility revealing themselves amongst the constant brooding of dark ambient moods and placid drones. Each track washes through me, airy yet precise, allowing my mind to open into rarely explored dimensions of contemplation.
“Summer” begins the journey with a cold mix of pulsing whirrs and sparse beat loops layering throughout an unforgiving soundscape while envelopes of metallic-sounding drones open and close with tender commands. Moving forward gracefully, “Temperature Drop” delivers a more spacious prose with lovely waves of tranquil ambiences which develop into an easel of haunting synth purges marked by a distant ticking beat. “You Left Your Breath On My Window” naturally sounds a bit more modern than the previous two pieces, beginning with a concert of glitchy tones bouncing off one another before transcending into lovely waves of rolling pads surging and receding underneath an ample plate of subtle ambient distortion. Lastly, the wavering electronic winds and delicate howls of “Rights Of Spring” bring this aural drift through the seasons to a close with an air of purposeful anticipation and receptive euphoria.
Powerful and inspiring, “Rural Sprawl” is the kind of music you’ll want to get lost in, not in the sense of being “lost” but rather allowing these stunning pieces to flow through your entire body, seeping into the unreachable corners of your mind, and enabling you to float away on whatever implausible daydream you care to have.
— Paul Nielsen