Exposé Online banner

J.C. Combs — Safe Passage
(Electroshock Records ELCD 053, 2010, CD)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2011-06-01

Safe Passage Cover art

After a long period of what seems like relative inactivity, Electroshock released at least a dozen new titles in 2010. Safe Passage is among the most interesting of those, but also one of the least musical in a conventional sense, being almost entirely made up of samples, field recordings, and loops. These works were created by Combs for his ‘Improv Friday’ events that began in early 2009. Quoting the liners: “The event is a venue where Combs and a troupe of new music improvisers and sound artists gather weekly to share their works.” Four tracks in, on “November 3, 2009” we finally hear the integration of a conventional musical instrument by way of some dense synthesizer textures. Following that, on “Abysmal” there is some muted singing that offers a haunting melody through a good part of that track. Later pieces incorporate incidental spoken text, TV samples, random sounds, incidental recordings of mysterious origins and such, some juxtaposed with synth patterns, samples and drones to hold the pieces together like glue. Every new listen reveals something new that seemingly was hidden or unnoticed before. Overall the disc explores the notion that sound sampling by itself is a worthy art form.


Filed under: New releases, Issue 39, 2010 releases

Related artist(s): J.C. Combs

Latest news

2018-07-09
Soft Machine Set to Release New Music – It's been 50 years since The Soft Machine changed the face of music with their first album. Their blend of psychedelic rock and jazz was unique, and while the band went through many changes before disbanding in 1981 — by which time there were no original members remaining — they remained an innovative force with a style all their own. » Read more

2018-07-01
7d Surfaces Happy Rhodes Back Catalog – We've covered singer Happy Rhodes before, both for her solo work and recently with The Security Project, but her 11 albums have been hard to track down. Until now. 7d features high-quality downloads of all her releases, and several of them are also available on CD. » Read more

2018-06-25
Fred Chalenor RIP – We have news of another sad passing in the world of creative music. Bassist Fred Chalenor, whose creativity featured on albums by Tone Dogs, Caveman Shoestore, and many more, died on June 23, 2018 after a long battle with Alzheimer's. Tributes have poured in from the many musicians and fans whose lives he touched. » Read more

2018-06-13
Jon Hiseman RIP – One of the great drummers of the rock era has died. Jon Hiseman was a veteran of such ground-breaking groups as Colosseum (I and II), Tempest, John Mayal's Bleusbreakers, and was a founding member of the innovative large band United Jazz + Rock Ensemble. » Read more

2018-06-05
Koenjihyakkei Seeks Funding for New Album – It's been quite a few years since the last new studio album by the amazing Koenjihyakkei. Now they are preparing Dhormimviskha for worldwide release, and they're asking fans to pre-order via a Kickstarter campaign to help it happen. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Dave Weckl Band - The Rhythm of the Soul – Back when I was in college, Weckl was God to every star-struck drummer who ever picked up a pair of sticks. His years behind the kit in both of Chick Corea's bands allowed him ample opportunity to...  (1999) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues