Jason Sloan, corruptedHorizon

Start your CD with the sound of an old dial-up modem carrier tone grinding its way over something like a bossa nova beat and you’ve certainly got my attention. Then, however, you’ve got to keep it interesting. Jason Sloan does exactly that–on both ends–on his new release, corruptedHorizon. Sloan builds upward from a base of gauzy guitar washes peppered with sharp beats, drum loops and intriguing, inventive clips of sound. The mix of texture and smoothness, ease and complexity, is perfect. Affording this disc a very focused listen is an absolute must. Although there are six pieces here, they move with a well-thought-out flow, and it feels like there’s a thread running through it. That much becomes clear when the modem sound rears up out of the wash later like a reminder of why you’re here.

Every track is stone cold solid, but it’s worth calling out the 10 minutes of bliss titled “dryANDabsolute.” This is a dynamic, intensely layered piece that rides on a percussion line/loop with a hand-drummed feel–a little touch of tribal. As this piece twists and curls around you, it takes on a deep, hypnotic groove. Well worth listening to over and over. “forward” is another standout, starting off cool, slow and sparse but always in a state of constant motion. Guitar chords spatter the air almost randomly while glitchy cut-ins and vocal samples keep your mind occupied.

While the real star here is Sloan’s processed guitar work, it gets a definite boost from his well-honed eye for sonic detail. The smallest touches pack a lot of depth in Sloan’s hands. It’s all purposeful, never forced or out of place. This is his 13th studio album, so he’s definitely had time to lock it all down. The effort that’s gone into the sounds shows in every moment.

corruptedHorizon is smart, laid-back and extremely well constructed. The downside is that it’s only about 50 minutes long–but it’s a pretty incredible 50 minutes. corruptedHorizon is a Hypnagogue Highly Recommended CD.

Available from Jason Sloan’s web site.

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