JD Swift - S\T CD
In June 2021, an unmarked package arrived at the Psychic Liberation headquarters. The small box, which had no return address, contained three items: a thumb drive, a printed message from a notes app, and a small satchel of what seemed to be carambola seeds. The note reads: “We were raised in the ashes of time. This is a philosophy of live. Made while sailing the seas of chaos on our humble houseboat, a place you’ll come to know. But do not seek us out. We are gone.”
Unwilling to risk a computer virus, or humor what was maybe a prank, the thumb drive sat on a shelf for a number of weeks. Eventually, label head Nick Klein decided to take it to the Royal Library of the Netherlands and open its contents on a computer there, just in case.
The thumb drive was titled jd swift. It’s unclear whether this is the artist’s name, the title of the album, or both. The recording opens with an alien spaghetti western: a chopped voice and wobbly single note, signaling that this is a strange place. The percussion is directionless at first, but warbled samples, including the nostalgic clink of getting a coin in Donkey Kong, give way to mutant structure.
Distorted twinkles, dubby hats, and big paranoid kicks occasionally swirl into lo-fi hurricanes, but mostly this music resides in the calm but weirdly charged eye of the storm.
Though little can be assumed about the context of these sonic creations, they seem to be the result of extended jams. The toolbox includes broken arpeggiations and fuzzed bells, air horns and watery pannings. This is twisted globalism, a nexus of serenity and catastrophe, a series of unrecognizable landscapes that read like field recordings though they are intentional creations. The inscrutability of their delivery captures perfectly the sense that artists are no longer individuals or collectives—they are circuits of larger machinery.
Meandering between sounds, these sui generis recordings don’t quite fit the categories of contemporary electronic music. Junk ambient, marginal acid… it’s a struggle to appropriately describe the sounds. Part of this difficulty comes from the artist’s (or artists’) purposefully self-effacing strategy, a circumventing of the systems that edify and circulate art based on identity, practice, and vision. Indeed, this is one of the reasons PL was strangely attracted to these recordings in the first place.
All eight of the individual pieces that make up jd swift are untitled, but are labelled with the time at which they start in the recording. The first track is titled 0:00. Does this hint at new beginnings, or a stance against time itself? If you find yourself on a coast, keep an eye out for a houseboat. Its occupants may know the answer.
Label: Psychic Liberation