Jason Corder’s Off the Sky and Zen Savauge

Zen Savauge

A few weeks ago, I raved about Off The Sky’s brilliant Caustic Light EP (which I just happen to be listening to right now) and noted the upcoming release on Stilll Recordings. However, I obviously didn’t look hard enough, because I just dug up even more of Jason Corder’s music that’s just waiting to be downloaded by folks looking for gorgeous ambient glitch and drone.

Before releasing Caustic Light EP earlier this year, Corder released Studies of Lifeform in Transit. Whereas Caustic Light is based largely on the sounds of guitars, Studies… is much more electronic in nature. It begins with a heavier glitch influence (think Tujiko Noriko) on tracks like the aptly-titled “Everyday Deterioration” and “Cold Front” (which sounds like you’re hearing the first tendrils of winter’s frost creep though the atmosphere).

But as the release continues, the sounds get more spacious. I can definitely see fans of Stars of the Lid digging the slowly unfolding, melancholy drones that drift through “Coriolis Effect” while “Mileece’s Reduction” recalls RF’s more gentle moments. The glitch is still present, but it’s hushed and more reflective as ghostly voices and hypnotic loops slowly unwind. And the release’s final moments recall Vidna Obmana’s gloriously contemplative ambient works, the synths forming twilit pools of sound and zen-like moments of calm.

However, Off the Sky isn’t the only moniker that Corder has worked under. He’s also released dub-influenced electronica on the Subsource label under the name Zen Savauge. You can find two Zen Savauge releases on Subsource’s site: Contrast (2004) and Inconnu (2003). I haven’t had a chance to listen to Contrast, but Inconnu is a beautiful album of dubby electronics, glitch, and moody textures.

As Corder writes on the Subsource site:

One major interpretive theme is that of the microscopic, macroscopic, and melancholic world in which we are connected to holistically. That idea was expressed through the use of random molecule-esque sounds bits layered underneath turbulent, looming dubbed-out melodies flowing about a motion of beat (which in my mind reflects the animation of life). The overall emotion of the tracks as a whole is that of a stark, beautiful, melancholy which is how I subjectively view the state of world.

As you might expect from such a statement, there’s an amazing amount of detail and focus throughout Inconnu — and yet it doesn’t feel artificial or coldly mechanical. Like Studies of Lifeform in Transit, there’s a contemplative tone at work here that prove quite enrapturing, even if the music just sort of floats there in the background. Highly recommended for fans of Pan-American’s more minimal work, or the subdued moments of Seefeel’s Quique.


Read more about Jason Corder, Off the Sky, and Zen Savauge.
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