Jeph Jerman

"Instability Studies"


Anomalous Records

released March 10, 2003
edition of 300 copies
hand made covers

1. sugar bowl
2. shaketable (simple)
3. shaketable (simple)
4. shaketable (complex)

master tape transfer by Scott Colburn

the sugar bowl is ceramic, with an illfitting lid which will rattle if not seated properly. by changing the position of the lid in relation to the bowl, a number of different vibration rates were discovered.

shaketables are small wooden planks fixed with vibrating motors and suspended on springs. objects are placed on the table which then vibrate in sympathy with the motor. due to the highly unstable nature of the table, different cycles of oscillation occur, causing the objects to rattle and bounce in myriad ways.

the simple recordings are stereo imagings of a single shaketable. the complex rendering is a series of shaketable recordings layered via overdubbing on the four track.

jeph jerman

other releases from Anomalous Records featuring Jeph Jerman:
sewa 50 Jeph Jerman "tug ear" 7"
NOM 6 "An Uncommon Nature" LP
NOM 7 Jeph Jerman "The Second Attention" CD
NOM14 animist orchestra "wuwei" CD

a letter of appreciation we received from Isaac Sterling:

Just wanted to let you know that this is the first release to make me grin-like-an-idiot-jump-up-and-down happy in a long time. Compositionally, it has the minimalist elegance of Lucier; physically, it has the structural simplicity and directness of a WrK installation; sonically, it has the subtlety and beauty of Roden's most delicate works, as well as the dynamic power and textural depth of Agog, ID Battery, or Speculum Fight, and the freshness of Akio Suzuki, realized with a sensibility markedly distinct from any of these artists. It honestly made me elated to hear, and that feeling is still with me although I listened to the recording yesterday.

If I were simply to tell someone in words what Jeph does in the first track, that person might understandably respond that anyone could do this: to drop lids onto sugarbowls in varied positions. But it is immediately apparent when listening that most of us simply *can't* do what Jeph does. It requires a special set of ears and hands. It is his touch that reaches so deeply into the nature of these objects. With the subsequent tracks, his touch is also evident, though less directly. Although anyone could place objects on a vibrating surface (which is part of the elegance and beauty of the work), it is Jeph's choices that make his compositions so compelling. He does not choose carelessly; on the contrary, he must be entirely careful to make the choices appropriate to remove his hand, and through the mechanism of the springboard let the objects speak for themselves. This reminds me of a Chinese story in which a man visits a famous doctor, and compliments him on his skill. The doctor responds that he is in fact not so talented, but that people are impressed because he can cure diseases when they have become very serious. He mentions that he has two brothers who are both more talented than he: one who is able to treat disease before it has become serious, and another who is the most talented of the three, who is able to treat a disease before the sufferer has identified its presence at all. This is the direction I hear Jeph taking in much of his work (my exposure is admittedly very limited), particularly through his use of field-recording. Although he referenced many of his recordings with the appellation 'Hands To', it is perhaps his choices regarding how to remove his hands that have been most critical. This is something that is not possible to force: what remains is the sound of life.

a review from Absurd by Nicolas:

"the second surprise from anomalous was the recent jeph jerman 'instability studies' cd, another release that I was curious enough to listen, jeph's been making lots of interesting soundscapes lately and his recent animist orchestra 'wuwei' cd might not have been a kind of masterpiece for me but certainly was a recording to show an outstanding beauty regarding its construction and microscopic sounds especially keeping in mind that's not that easy to 'control' all these people that were participating in the recording. here jeph though seems as if he remembered his old days of the more 'bizarre' hands to stuff (not the harsh noise one) playing first the 'sugar bowl' that is ceramic and rattles if not seated properly so creates various sounds out of this vibration. then 2 'shaketable (simple) pieces & one 'shaketable (complex)', the shaketables 'are small wooden planks fixed with vibrating motors and suspended on springs. objects are placed on the table which then vibrate in sympathy with the motor.' as the press info says and hope this helps you to get an idea. the sound on this 2 pieces is a noisy one and the same holds for the final third which lasts for some 25 minutes in various moods & noisy atmospheres compared to the racket of the 2 'simple' ones. a release to bring in mind the more 'nihilistic' noise scene and days, not w/ the harsh meaning but with a more experimental & creative spirit in it. not as intense as the hands to 'egress' lp or a radical recording but certainly one of jeph's lovely moments that I really enjoy listening to all the time! (& hurry up cos is limited to 300 copies only)."