[sic] Magazine

JARR – 42°

JARR is the ambient/post rock collaboration of Jon Attwood (yellow6) and Ray Robinson (Wodwo). We last encountered the pair on their album, Talking About X. Now JARR return with another nebulous long-player, 42°.

According to the labels press release; 42º is JARR’s third full-length album, and their second for Sound In Silence, following last year’s album Talking About X. The title of their new album, which is made up of six long-form compositions with a total duration of something more than 66 minutes, is inspired by the way a rainbow is formed.

“A rainbow is not located at a specific distance from the observer but comes from an optical illusion caused by any water droplets viewed from a certain angle relative to a light source. Thus, a rainbow is not an object and cannot be physically approached. Indeed, it is impossible for an observer to see a rainbow from water droplets at any angle other than the customary one of 42 degrees from the direction opposite the light source.”

42° is JARR at their most minimal to date. All instruments are credited to both men. Those languid, contemplative guitars may sound like signature Attwood but only they know who played what on 42°. Reverb and delays are to the fore, often against a backdrop of drone. This is mood music. The pieces average around 10 minutes in length but still somehow seem to hover tantalizingly like clouds. Very few tracks contain movements in themselves and, being practically beat less and distinctly wordless, we cannot call them ‘songs’. The titles speak of mist and rainbows, but I get more remote imagery in the form of distant pulsars, flickering intermittently in and out of view (Into The Mist) or a vast ocean floor (Rainbows On Their Curves 2) Something like Rainbows On Their Curves 1 feels like standing at Zabriskie Point and watching the heathaze over the desert for at least two thirds of its twelve and a half minutes before then shifting into its bass-led concluding act. It is far from the only track that spends its duration threatening to coalesce but never quite doing so. As such the listener is held in the same suspended state as the music itself.

Comparison points cover the spectrum of post rock and ambient – most obviously Talk Talk, Bark Psychosis, but also the sleepier works of Hammock. However I’m most put in mind of Harold Budd. It’s as if Budds own (lovely) thunder has migrated from piano to guitar. A distilled Moon and The Melodies, if you like, right down to Guthrie-esque twangs. This may be a less tempestuous work than the late, great ambient master, but 42° is equally elemental. It would work perfectly for documentary. (Sign them up, BBC!) Or failing that, they could franchise this out to sensory flotation chambers everywhere.

Favourite piece – The Pavement Sparkles.


Talking About X

Jon Attwood on Bark Psychosis