3" CDR CEIL037
No trainspotter I, but old steam engines still conjure romance for me, especially caked matt black with the grease and soot of their labor, from their juggernaut grimaces to the steel wheels and the giant piston and connecting rods that give them motion. On Senor Trainwhistle, The Sand Rays-actually one man, Jim DeJong, releasing on his old-new label CEIL-present a brief, three-part symphony of locomotion-a long, sputtering drone, a clicks'n'cuts clickety-clack of forward momentum with subtle texturing as the passing scene, and the far-off and getting further away song of the rails.
DeJong frames the piece (and its quickly-following companion, Escalator Attendant) in a context of Bizarro world Magrittisms-addressing us as "Jim the Younger" and "Jim the Elder," respectively, we are told neither is a 7" (they are in fact three-inch CDRs- two sides of the same, cancelled vinyl single?) and that The Sand Rays have "nothing to do with The Infant Cycle," the name under which his generative, distressed oeuvre is most widely known. Identically designed, Escalator Attendant is credited to Ray Sands, who has "nothing to do with The Sand Rays."
The latter opens with a shimmering, juddering piece reminiscent of New York minimalism, opening wider until slowly tumbling down the huge chasm that has opened under it. The second piece, "That Blurry Tunnel There," if damp and clammy, is also smooth and narcotic.
Both are mysterious discs (five or six of The Infant Cycle's releases are called A Mysterious Disc, but I am sure they have nothing to do with Ray Sands or the Sand Rays)- looped, concrete, ambivalent, ambient and transportive.
Both releases are available on CEIL.
Behind The Sand Rays we find Jim The Younger, who, in a previous carnation was Jim DeJong, also know as The Infant Cycle, but the short note that came with this says 'nothing to do with The Infant Cycle' - why mention it, I wondered. Why not go all the way 'new', and not mention your own name, not even in a variation? The cover says 'not a 7"', and I can see that, but it's only when you start playing this that you realize what it means. There are two pieces on this release; one is 6'28 and the other 4'46 -so perhaps it was The Sand Rays' idea to release a 7" of this. There is no information as to which sounds are used here but in 'Pingray 2' it seems there is some sort of loop of a heavily scratched record, plus some assorted electronics to cook up some droning passages to along with the scratch. In the title piece there is also a bit of drone like sounds, which could either be from the use of train sounds or heavily processed whistles - maybe the title doesn't leave much to guess? Both of these pieces are quite minimal when it comes to development or changes. They are there, but mainly operate on a level of changing the equalisation to add to the variety of the music. Within the limitation of the music that
is something that works well. I am not sure if a 7" would have been a great idea, but maybe next time some more music on such a small disc would be nice; so we have a somewhat better idea of what The Sand Rays could be about.
-Frans de Waard