Mind Over Mirrors is a project led by Chicago resident Jamie Fennelly. In the project’s seemingly endless evolution Fennelly has recently been joined by Haley Fohr from Circuit De Yeux. Using simple acoustic instruments, a more elaborate indian pedal harmonium and their voices fed through leslie speakers, tape delays and oscillators make a meditative sound that has the same flow, with swelling peaks, as synthesised electronics. The Voice Calling sees Fennelly expanding on previous recording with the welcome edition of Fohr’s enchanting vocals. LP on Immune.
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Jaime Fennelly does not ease you in; he does not build things up, and he does not wait for the sun to rise. Rather, he might be one of the only drone artists to Get This Show On The Road, opening his records on kosmische melodies that sound like they’ve been perpetuating for a good while. Desperate for us to hear his many sonic additives, ‘The Voice Calling’ is an immediately captivating work whose intensity is a shock to the system, not an inevitability.
Fennelly’s instrumentation will sound, in parts, as raw as a Natural Snow Buildings or Sly & The Unseen record, with Indian pedal harmonium creating a strikingly visceral sound to complement his wall-bouncing synthwork. It’s his implementation of vocals, though, that truly mixes up the standard drone sustain; whether trembled from a distance or sung with an immense assurance, they have to find a place to sit between rhythmic electronics and slow-burning pedal work; like the best kosmische work of Expo 70 or Cosmic Ground, your ears will be concentrating on a myriad sounds, trying to connect them in time and space.
The best thing about Fennelly is his ability to juxtapose strain with restraint; while his record will sound sharp and woozy at times, the electronics he uses are centering, as if offering a cease-and-desist to sounds that would otherwise go and go ‘til the end of life itself. There’s a beauty in all the sounds he’s using, but his ability to weave a structure through them, as on the horrific climax of “Strange Work” is most stunning of all.
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