AMN Reviews: Jeff Surak – AllSilver [Zeromoon zero202]

A long time in the making, AllSilver is a collection of provocative sounds from DC area experimentalist Jeff Surak. Surak appreciates and purveys what many of us simply ignore in our sonic environment; the title of the first track on the album, Love and Production, captures something of Surak’s aesthetic: love of the harsher sounds unloved by most, and production of raw sounds from the rawer materials of Dictaphone recordings, old synthesizers, lo-fi radios, mechanical objects, and a defiantly detuned zither. AllSilver is an album that draws on digital and analogue electronic technologies alike to produce an overall sound that’s consistent with Surak’s particular brand of lofi artfulness. Sometimes this sound encompasses expansive audioscapes, as in Love and Production and the lush, undulating drone of Nicéphore Niépce; it can also take the form of the granulated textures of And the Sun Will Eat Itself, or the mysterious percussive sounds that punctuate Keep Dancing After the Music Stops. The Fence is an abrasive bit of post-industrial scrunge—the sounds of machinery in extremis; Zawawa channels the ghost of a broken short-wave radio tuned between stations. The album’s centerpiece is its closing track: the epic, twenty-minute-long Scattered Lie the Saints, a complex drone piece that mixes Berlin-school sounds with a crackle and hiss reminiscent of a tinny transistor radio—debouching into the nothingness of a long-fading echo.

AllSilver comes as a digital download or as a very limited edition CDR that includes two bonus tracks; in either format, the album is a good introduction to Surak’s work. It also is a companion album to Surak’s AllGold, originally released by Staaltapes in 2015 and reissued this year by bluescreen.

Daniel Barbiero