Enigmatic producer, Jeff Blank, appears on the equally mysterious Omega Capricorni imprint with his release. The Waveform Transmitter’s Niall Johnston reviews the unknown producer’s Dialect EP.
Usually when I sit down to write one of these reviews, if I am unaware of the artist then, normally, a label, side project, or club night that they are associated with can provide some sort of background to work off. However with this latest promo to arrive in my inbox there really are no such clues.
Jeff Blank has no previous documented work under this moniker, with the vinyl-only ‘Dialect EP’ appearing as the first ever release on the Omega Capricorni label. We are told in confidence that this may be an off-shoot of a larger, more established label, with Jeff Blank being an unknown alias of an established UK artist. However these insights do little to illuminate the mystery surrounding this release.
What is clear, though, is that these are four pieces of lovely music. Involving a mixture of ambient, dreamy house, experimental and electronica, ‘Dialect’ is a perfect EP for the entry and exit of the sun into our daily lives: dawn and dusk.
Opener ‘Phonogenes’ could wonderfully bridge the gap between the times at an afters when you still need a beat to nod along to as you sit and sink into the sofa, but you’re also ready for a soothing melody to lead you towards slumber. Containing a mixture of warm, organic chords and oscillations of a more cosmic variety, the tracks layers build without ever becoming overwhelmingly heavy.
‘Eiger’ is a shorter, more disrupted piece based on a shifting drum pattern. These kicks are sparse, creating space in the track which allows the dreamy vocals and a pure saccharine synth line to flourish.
On the B-side ‘Manifesto’ offers something similar to the opener by combining a lovely warm melody with a rhythm that would move you on a dance floor. A couple of simple looped piano notes delicately play amongst a pattering of symbols and a heavily distorted bassline.
Final track ‘Prizmic Oscillations’ is by far the most experimental of the four. This completely beat-less section draws the EP to a close in a way analogous to the close of the day with sunset – a gradual winding down of heat and volume until a final searing moment of intensity just at the point before the sun disappears below the horizon.
It also fits with the nature of an oscillating wave that is at its highest point only a moment before its lowest. The soundscape created in this piece sounds far away from an earthly creation and instead appears to have been filtered through prisms of the solar system.
There has been much talk in this review of ambiguous individuals and the cosmos – an ambiguous topic in itself. This will make more sense when finding out the meaning of label-name Omega Capricorni; it is the name of a star in a constellation called Capricornus, about 800 light years from our sun. However although this may seem surprising, my own solar connections regarding Jeff Blank’s EP had already been drawn before finding out that information.
For me it does contain a sense of cosmic influence whilst still being routed close to home. The coming and going of the sun is in itself a cosmic event but we view it from planet Earth. This music characterizes that strange event which happens twice a day often without us taking notice at all. For music to be able to capture and make us aware of an event of such scale is a powerful thing.
Whoever is behind this EP and label is clearly in touch with music of meaning and I thoroughly look forward to their next productive explorations of the cosmos.