The Sand Rays - Remembered Vol. 2 (more EPs in coalescence)

The Sand Rays
"Remembered Vol. 2 (more EPs in coalescence)"

CD (ltd. 107)

1. Melodica
2. Señor Trainwhistle (extended) (edit)
3. No Fault
4. Narrator
5. Obscurantism, Maybe
6. The Room Divides Itself
7. A Mysterious Disk 1
8. A Mysterious Disk 2

total length: 66:54
release date: June 30, 2020
price: €10

"Remembered Vol. 2 (more EPs in coalescence)" @ bandcamp

The Sand Rays / The Infant Cycle: website | bandcamp | facebook

The Canadian musician Jim DeJong (ex-The Infant Cycle) continues to splinter and perplex his discography, releasing mini-works under different monikers: The Sand Rays, San Andreas, Sand Ra, etc. And we are making already the second attempt to collect these sprawling entities under a single cover after the CD "Remembered Vol. 1 (EPs gathered together)" in 2017.

This time Jim doesn’t reveal the list of tools that he used, but we know his passion for recycled sounds of shortwave radio, household appliances and malfunctioning electronics. His music is like ghostly monochrome corridors and sound tunnels which often end with sudden turns and dead ends. It is like endless fields of inner calm, woven from reverberations and atonal textures, giving way to mysterious several second-long cuts in which seemingly almost nothing happens. It is like a quiet psychedelic introversion, a contemplation of bitcrushed emptiness, a parallel existence in intangible layers of space.

The glass-mastered CD edition is limited to 107 copies and comes in a 4-panel matte digisleeve. The digital version is available on bandcamp.


In Vital Weekly 1121, I reviewed the first Volume of The Sand Rays 'Remembered'. It ended with this: "It’s great to see all of these things lumped together and it makes up a very fine disc. ‘Volume 1’, so I was thinking, seems a complete package of the releases so far; what will be on Volume 2, then?" Now we know. The Sand Rays, or Ray Sands or Sandray is the musical project of Jim DeJong, sometimes called Jim The Younger or Jim The Medium or Jim The Elder, releasing a bunch of 3"CDR, the highly unpopular format. Confusing? Of the eight pieces on this disc, the first two were released online and never made to these pages, the second two on a 3"CDR that never reached me, and the other four were reviewed. Lazy sod that I am I copy these two in full.

From Vital Weekly 1044 about San Andreas — Old Men Dream In Reverse; "Here's another one of those mildly confusing discs by the guy who once was The Infant Cycle, but since earlier this year goes by a plethora of names, all related, such as The Sand Rays, Ray Sands and Sandray, and now it's San Andreas. It is produced by The Sand Rays, which ties it in with the previous release (see Vital Weekly 1030) and the first piece 'Nobody's Fault But Mine' is crossed out on the cover and is seven seconds of silence; perhaps some conceptual joke (that I didn't get)? The other piece is close to seventeen minutes and is called 'Your Narrator Lies In The Middle Of The Street', which made me think about A Clockwork Orange (and I was reminded that I bought a copy three years ago, but still didn't get around reading it again) but I might be entirely wrong of course. Music-wise San Andreas expands on the musical journey from before and finds himself in another heavily treated world of acoustic sounds being bent and twisted by the use of overactive electronic circuits. The piece has three distinct parts; a long ambient opening, then a more electro-acoustic excursion from the frying pan and finally some darker set of drone material and mild glitches. This last part sounds quite obscure and 'dirty', with something that seems not to have been recording properly. All of this had quite a cinematic feel to it, and sums up a fine addition to what is probably a whole series of connected works."

And from Vital Weekly 1144 The Sand Rays ' Mysterious Disk'; "From the ever-expanding universe of... well, whoever is behind... erm... hold on... there is nothing on the cover and the letter that came with it says 'a mysterious disc', but also mentions The Sand Rays. It's an ever-changing name, Sand Ray, Ray Sands, Sand Rays, unleashing 3"CDRs onto the world; occasionally a few were compiled into a proper CD (see Vital Weekly 1021). The website says this: "Poking at the deepening discographical badlands", while mentioning name and title, so I guess it's not that mysterious, but poking fun at completists and such. Music-wise this is all firmly rooted in the world of drone music. It is deeply atmospheric and usually made with samples of everyday objects, transformed into lengthy sustaining pieces of music. However, don't expect this to be one long piece of drone music, but it's not. The Sand Rays move through at least 4 different shades of a greyish sound world, even become silent at one point, and a firm break somewhere, before going through its final stage of vinyl abuse and radiophonic pick-up. Everything is on a constant change course, so nothing stays the same for very long. While I am not too sure about the mystery game of the poking fun business, I think this is something that more people should hear than the ones now. If you are proud of what you do, show it! The Sand Rays, or who-ever, should pick a steady name and be less obscure. Their music deserves it."

Then the four new pieces. This time there are no instruments mentioned on the cover but judging by the music Jim is still on the same course of transforming the same sources over and over again and listed last time was "bass guitar, shortwave, playout, field recordings, dehumidifier, birdcage, poly-800 and even cheaper keyboard, the camera", so no doubt again here. There is another 8-second silent piece among these four, but the other three are again finely woven dark drone pieces of a highly atmospherical nature but always with that fine touch of musique concrète woven into the fabric of the drones. The two online pieces are unusually short The Sand Rays, two and seven minutes, of which the shortest, 'Melodica' is a somewhat louder affair. 'Narrator' has a more collage-like approach with three very distinct parts. All of this is highly enjoyable and I can image people no longer playing 3"CDR (or CDRs at all), so this is a good thing. Maybe Zhelezebeton should release some more Sand Rays straight on CD and not via 3"CDR's first?

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