The lack of the desert and some sort of dramatic mountain in the distance always nagged at hardcore wanderer Steve Jansen (not Steve Jansen from Japan, which is a band, and not the country Japan) whenever the Arizona Sonoran Desert native lived in the anti-desolation of Houston, Austin, Chicago, Brooklyn, Seattle, Los Angeles and other domestic and worldwide spots.
Now based in Albuquerque (and also, during the pandemic, in a rural Arizona cabin that can’t be located on any online map), a bulk of Jansen’s work has focused on creating sonic narratives from the sounds of the U.S. Southwest wilderness, both intact landscapes as well as former deserts paved over with asphalt. In many cases, the sound transmissions are transmitted through technology in various states of rot and malfunction.
'Place Setting,' the artist’s newest release and first on Autumn Sounds, is a collage of desolate sounds that were documented during a June 2020 music residency in Abiquiú, New Mexico, perhaps best known as Georgia O’Keeffe’s home base during the second half of her life. The 58-minute piece captures sounds, both native to the area and imported, during the duration of the two-week residency and include: a bunch of handmade bells, sticks whipped in the air, shrubs, objects, ebow guitar, looped sax and a monsoon rainstorm that knocked out the power for eight hours.
Jansen’s overall experimental music output includes solo and band performance on alto saxophone, prepared guitar, natural and manufactured objects, and cassette tape across a swath of genres, ranging from free jazz and electro-acoustic improvisation to harsh noise and primitive techno. Jansen, a current member of Denton, Texas no wave psychos Gay Cum Daddies, has collaborated with John Dieterich, Raven Chacon, Jeph Jerman, Sandy Ewen, Ingebrigt Håker Flaten, Tom Carter, Rebecca Novak, Parham Daghighi and James Fella. He also runs the labels That’s Cool, UNHINGED, and Section 31.
released December 4, 2020
Steve Jansen – field recordings, objects, guitar, alto saxophone
Recorded and assembled from June 14-27, 2020 in and near Abiquiú, New Mexico.