Jason Sloan: Deluge
It would be hard to identify where Jason Sloan was heading while his live album Deluge (72’54”) was being realized. He seems to have been moving somewhere through the world, but was by no means showing any attachment to it. Gesturing toward profound themes Deluge is a premonition of a coming darkness – a retreat from its mounting inundation. In a beautifully calibrated performance Sloan manages a slow acceleration. The three contiguous tracks of the studio concert, plus the additional title track, arouse in us a theater of the mind – generated by the machinery of the brain. Disassembled forms are charged with electronic expression, and slowly shift in a haze of hovering tones. Full of a ceaseless turbulence and bottomless ambiguity Deluge is a music without climaxes, and runs scarcely out of control. Ethereal synthesized melodies gradually move the listener into a pensive space, while crackling short wave radio clips faintly emanate from some hidden realm. The occasional appearance of soft rustling rhythms provides a rather muted, twilit, dusky feel – elegantly simple, yet lit with a benign foreboding. In contrast to the luminous flow of spacey synthesized voice and string beds Sloan adds well-placed notes of delicate digital distortion into the mix at unpredictable intervals. These raw-nerve sounds connect Sloan to the moment as the whirlwind of his live music expands and recedes. If time has a shape the emanations found on Deluge represent its vague contour. Traveling into the gray sphere of 21st century life this work resolves in a lessening of tension – telling us that the future is all around us… waiting to be shaped.