Him - Sworn Eyes

Year of Release: 1999
Label: Perishable Records
Catalog Number: PER009
Format: CD
Total Time: 55:23:00

Doug ScharinHim is the project of Doug Scharin (June of 44, Rex, Out In Worship), and Sworn Eyes is the third release. He's joined by Jeff Parker (Tortoise, Isotope) on guitar, Bundy K. Brown (Pullman, Directions) on bass, and Rob Mazurek (Chicago Underground Duo) on cornet. Scharin handles all the drums, percussion, samples and some bass.

The music here is a combination between techno and jazz, the jazz element being the use of both cornet and, on track four, alto sax, played by Martin Perna. This gives the sound a very textured feel; contrasts, shadows ... There are moments where the percussion on the first track reminds me of material on Sting's Dream Of The Blue Turtles ("We Work The Black Seam" is what I'm thinking of).

Light, resonate percussion and a very brassy cornet lead "Of The Periphery," where the former has a very earthy tone, giving the track a slight southwestern feel. Julie Liu joins in on this track on violin, playing slow, sweeping, and sweet notes.

Now, say the word techno to most people, and one imagines very cold, harsh music, but contrary to that, this album is very warm. Maybe it's the brass and violin, and maybe it's the openness of the arrangments, but there is an overall warm feeling. "Trace Elements" is the exception. This is a cooler track where high toned percussives pop like bubbles, where the bass hums and thrums as it perculates beneath.

"Scorn Nothing" is full of sustained alto sax, more bubbly tones and percussion, giving this a long, and luxurious feel.

The title track is a very slow, subtle track that undulates - like a boat on not quite totally calm seas - a little swell here and there. A breeze every once in a while (the cornet)... deep bass... very atmospheric.

Although this album is very good and has some interesting textures, there is something missing for me to be able to say this is a great release. While accomplished, there is just something slightly off about the brass - too brassy, too bright maybe. A slight edge to the tones, a sharpness, that nonetheless manages to keep just this side of cool. Less smooth than recent Tangerine Dream, smoother than jazz-fusion.

I am unfamiliar with Him, so I can't say how this compares to the previous two. The press blurb states that "Doug Scharin moves ahead from the 4 track dub experiments of earlier recordings and into a more layered world of jazz-influenced soundscapes," which should give you an idea what this sounds like.

A Verdict Of Science (19:53) / Of The Periphery (8:45) / Trace Elements (4:10) / Scorn Nothing (9:47) / Sworn Eyes (12:48)

Doug Scharin - drums, percussion, samples, and bass
Jeff Parker - guitar (1, 2, 4, 5)
Bundy K. Brown - bass (1, 2, 5)
Rob Mazurek - cornet (1, 2, 4, 5)
Julie Liu - violin (2)
Martin Perna - alta sax (4)

Egg (1996)
Chill And Peel (12-inch) (1996)
Crooklyn Dub Consortium: Certified Dope Comp. Vol 1 & 2 (1997)
Interpretive Belief System (1997)
Him (1998) (split CD with Dylan Group)
Sworn Eyes (1999)
Our Point Of Departure (2000)

Genre: Electronic

Origin US

Added: October 4th 1999
Reviewer: Stephanie Sollow
Hits: 955
Language: english


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