Jb.arnes is a Pittsburgh-via-everywhere ambient artist whose new release, Jardin’s Place, is indebted to the sounds of the Kankyō Ongaku (“environmental music”) movement prevalent in Japan during the 1980’s.
Jb.arnes recorded Jardin’s Place using a Tascam DR-4 and an iPhone 5 while trotting the globe over the past four years, setting up shop in India, Nepal, Thailand, Colorado, New Orleans, New York, and good old Pittsburgh. He uses a combination of naturalistic recordings, distant vocal snippets, and euphonious synth tones to build serene water gardens in which listeners can sit and reflect, sounds from all over the world mingling with the perfect logic of a dream. “Raindance” sets its scene with a recording that could be from a park, a forest, an outdoor religious service, or all three at once; trills of birdsong and the susurrus of wind through trees meld with crowd chatter and hints of reverent chanting. Soon, the track’s ambient swirl is overwhelmed by the rush of a torrential downpour; it could either be a Southeast Asian monsoon or last August’s Lawrenceville Microburst. A faint melody lingers behind the wall of white noise, the two elements acting in tandem to create a “natural” version of the staticky effect present in the music of artists like Yellow Swans and Jefre Cantu-Ledesma. “Raindance” is noisy and peaceful at the same time, a meditation session in a deluge; lie back, and as the great Natasha Bedingfield once said, “Feel the rain on your skin.”
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