Releases » KVIST 004: Solid Dawn
Artist: JD Emmanuel
Release Date: April 2009
Limited run of 500 on CD
Collection of electronic works recorded between 1979 and 1982.
|Movement Into Lightspeed||Sample mp3|
|Sunrise Over Galveston Bay||Sample mp3|
|7 Note Trance||Sample mp3|
|Grandioso||no audio sample|
|March Of The Colossus||no audio sample|
|Through The Inner Planes||no audio sample|
|Changeling||no audio sample|
“The reissue of JD Emmanuel’s 1982 private-press obscurity Wizards in 2007 sent underground heads scrambling for copies, and for those lucky enough to have gotten their hands on one, or those who have heard those tracks and wish they had, Solid Dawn will doubtlessly be an essential acquisition. Emmanuel occupies an amazing/mystifying zone somewhere between Terry Riley’s time-lag flights, new age, ’70’s kosmische (a la Popul Vuh, Tangerine Dream, etc.), and Texas. This is a sprawling collection of newly resurrected pieces recorded between 1979 and 1982 and previously released in meager cassette editions. Emmanuel works with a couple of synths and digital delays and tends to go at them with both hands so he can set a mesmerizing pulse/rhythm and soar free at the same time. This is certainly music in the minimal vein — more than once it sounds straight out of “A Rainbow in Curved Air” — but there’s an outsider/psychedelic feel to it all that sets it entirely apart. Indeed, this should greatly appeal to anyone with a taste for “outsider” sounds in general. Numerous releases over the past few years have combined this kind of synthesized potency and rare-archival/out of nowhere/loner appeal — the Edmond de Deyster series on Ultra Eczema, that Ursula Bogner record — but as those have kept the darker, more blip-oriented end of the spectrum in vogue, Solid Dawn is a straight shot of light, a pulsing, soaring, often ecstatic music. A major collection for sure. [AOK] ” — Other Music
“A basement pioneer in his own right, J.D. Emmanuel has had a resurgence of sorts in recent years, making his a real synth Cinderella story. Spurred by a record collector who suggested he post his work on the internet, Emmanuel’s 1982 Wizards was soon reissued by Bread and Animals’ Lieven Martens, whose own Dolphins into the Future project is among many currently drawing inspiration from the meditative arpeggiations practiced by Emmanuel over 25 years ago.
This collection draws on a number of unreleased tracks from Emmanuel’s most fertile period, offering an array of examples of his distinctive stylistic mastery. Ordered more or less sequentially, the disc offers a fine demonstration of the artist’s trajectory. Opening with the placid and gentle drones of “Movement into Lightspeed,” played on an organ with an Echoplex and reel deck, the work soon grows in complexity until the closing 22-minute track, “Changeling,” featuring four synths at work. In between lies a body of work whose importance is far greater than its notoriety.
Emmanuel’s main cue and most obvious influences lie in the minimalist composers. Much of his work has the distinct feel of greats like Steve Reich and Philip Glass as arpeggiated tones are gently modified through the consistent warmth of his synth tones. Yet it is likely Terry Riley’s shadow which looms largest here, as Emmanuel displays a penchant for conjuring the spiritual strength in repetition. Swaying effortlessly, “Sunrise Over Galveston Bay” has synth lines drifting atop field recordings of waves, a tactic whose overuse is rendered obsolete here due to the piece’s humble simplicity.
“7 Note Trance” is, as suspected, a pulsing body of arpeggiated tones (seven of them, I would believe…) that ebb and flow ceaselessly forward while the aptly titled “Grandioso” finds a medium tempo urging along a regal space age procession. Each use a highly different in approach but the feel is of a fully realized and unified musical voice. The stoned pitch modulations of “Through Inner Planes” may well be the least tangible work here, but it still manages to fit comfortably into the bigger picture presented here.
While some of Emmanuel’s earliest experiments are present on Solid Dawn, they sound right at home next to more constructed works like “March of the Colossus,” a patient and brooding space filled with austere lines that would find themselves fitting snuggly between Reich’s “Four Organs” and Paul Bley’s electronic keyboard work. “Whirlwind” takes off even further, pulsing outward in continuous lines of sensual colors.
Emmanuel’s recent rediscovery has proved to be an important factor in the emergence of a burgeoning New Age aesthetic practiced by units such as Oneohtrix Point Never, Steve Hauschildt and countless others. His influence may yet reach its height and works such as these serve as important reminders of the links between much basement drone and minimalist composition. Emmanuel himself may well come to resurface as one of the most important bridges between them if albums of this quality continue to emerge. – Henry Smith” — Brainwashed
“Yes! Finally, J.D. Emmanuel’s late seventies, early eighties mind expansion music is more readily accessible. Mostly previously available through rare private pressing lps and vinyl rip blogs, Emmanuel is pretty much one of the main underground touchstones of the present wave of sunny new age meditative minimalist outfits such as The Alps, Emeralds, Ducktails, and White Rainbow. We had that limited reissue of his 1982 Wizards LP which flew out of here in a flash and now we have the less-limited Solid Dawn disc, which is a compilation of works between 1979 and 1982 in which Emmanuel seemed to be superhumanly productive. Taking the minimalist template of Terry Riley, the continuous music of Lubomyr Melnyk, and Brian Eno’s discreet music, filtering it through a more soft-focus mystical kosmiche veil of Klaus Schulze, Ariel Kalma and Eberhard Schoener, Emmanuel makes long-form compositions that are vaporous and propulsive like swiftly moving clouds using wind chimes, blurry shifting drones, and arpeggiated synth-scapes. Check out his website for more info about this Texan native, who not only offers spiritual consultation, but offers automotive and business management solutions as well! Outsider New Age doesn’t get much better than this!” — Aquarius Records
“Brand new compilation of early work form this revered, rediscovered master of odd, brain-erasing new age minimalism. Emmanuel cut the classic Wizards side in 1982, an LP long-championed by VT and one that has since had an inordinate influence on the contemporary underground. This is a glorious companion piece to that side, a series of early unreleased works that run from Crumar organ, Echoplex and 4-track reel work through beautifully evolving compositions using real-time tape loops and polyrhythmic synth drones. The whole set has that beautiful sun coming up in your mind feel that defined Wizards, with soft blots of keyboard melody generating repeat architectures somewhere between the mile-deep visions of Klaus Schulze and Terry Riley’s early tape/delay pieces. Comes with a full colour gatefold digipak with photography and liners from J. D. Recommended. – David Keenan” — Volcanic Tongue
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