DAVID HELPLING & JON JENKINS DISCOVER THE THIRD RING OF THEIR TRILOGY:
THE ECHOES DECEMBER CD OF THE MONTH
Hear it featured tonight 12/2, on Echoes.
The next time you watch an episode of HBO’s Game of Thrones, mute the TV sound and dial up David Helpling and Jon Jenkins’ Found . You won’t need Ned Stark’s honor, Daenerys Stormborn’s dragon’s roars or Ramin Djawadi’s serviceable score to take you on a cinematic trip that will bring you from Westeros to beyond the Wall. Found is the third part of a trilogy, and it’s as grand as any fantasy epic.
Following Treasure and The Crossing, both previous CD of the Month picks, Found marks the end of a six year odyssey for the two veteran musicians, both of whom made their mark as solo artists first. Helpling is primarily a guitarist and Jenkins a synthesist, but their worlds merge in their 21st century electronic orchestra. Yet, as modern as they sound, the shadows of Patrick O’Hearn’s 1980s recordings are in every corner of this music. You can hear it right away on “The Opening.” A surging rhythm, a snaky underlying bass line and a sparse melody made up of layered synthesizers are all hallmarks of Patrick O’Hearn from his influential recordings on Private Music. David Helpling and Jon Jenkins create a welcome extension of that sound.
David Helping’s electric guitar is a defining voice for the duo. He doesn’t take any flashy solos. Instead, he etches ringing arpeggios and morphing textures. Even when he whips out some screaming sustained clarion calls on the grand climax of “Lost,” it’s mixed in the distance.
Unlike on their previous albums, Helping and Jenkins head into deep space on one track, the 13-minute “Only Ashes.” Beat and percussion free, it moves on a slow dirge of space organ pads and long, Robert Fripp-like guitar sustains before slowly breaking orbit and rising into diaphanous space.
If things weren’t ominous enough, the title track floats on a spare sequencer pattern that is pounded by thunderstruck piano chords signaling imminent demise, reinforced by the angelic, though possibly avenging, voice of Miriam Stockley of Adiemus and AOMusic fame. Helpling and Jenkins stack her wordless cries in a wash of deep reverb that turns her pure soprano into a wraithlike choir that’s almost not recognizable as voice, sounding more like a complex synthesizer patch.
David Helpling and Jon Jenkins’ Found brings an orchestral approach to electronic music, where the orchestra is completely plugged-in, the timbres otherworldly, and the percussion tracks swept in on storms. It’s a great CD of the Month to end 2013.
John Diliberto (((echoes)))