JAB – Erg Herbe
2019’s Erg Herbe marked John Also Bennet’s first full-length solo release. JAB says the record was gestated for nearly a decade while he worked out how to fully express his own sound and ideas. He notes that “My personality is all over this music”, elaborating that “the goal is to create nice, strange, and thoughtful music that reflects a genuine inner vision of self. I’ve been recording solo music for a long time without releasing any of it because I’m not able to let anything out that doesn’t satisfy this criteria.” Finally, Erg Herbe began to emerge during 2017 and 2018, recorded alone during spare moments between collaborative projects. JAB uses a mixture of synthetic and organic instruments throughout the album, including modified Aphex Twin DX7 presets played using a just intonation tuning system, eurorack oscillators “tuned according to intuitive structures using intervals of 30 hz,” and a number of flutes including a Chinese “dizi” flute borrowed from his father, noted avant-garde poet and mail-artist John M. Bennett (a contemporary of New York underground poets Richard Kostelanetz and Steve Dalachinsky). Through this unique mixture JAB creates a record which moves outside the conventional. Part New York minimalism, part ambient, part classic electronic yet uniquely JAB.
“Erg Herbe” in an invented turn of phrase – erg being the term for a sea of desert sand dunes, and herbe being French for grass – summoning the dreamlike image of a green, rolling dunescape. A fitting title for an album that combines worlds: minimal and lush, serious and playful, real and imagined. “Distant Patterns” – the longest track on the album at over twelve minutes – juxtaposes dry, pulsating oscillators with pillowy, occasionally dissonant pads, while a raga-like alto flute melody glides and dances over top, like a bird soaring across a landscape. Dreaming of distant places while absorbing what’s around him, and traveling the world while keeping one foot in New York, JAB has finally conjured up the unique, surreal sound world he has been looking for.
Pressed on 140gm vinyl with printed inners and outer reverse-board jacket. Mastered by Rashad Becker at D+M. Artwork by Zin Taylor, design by Bartolomé Sanson. Includes download code