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

2020-01-21
Gong Announces UK Tour for 2020 – Having spent the last few years touring the world, including dates in Japan with psych legend Steve Hillage, multiple headline European tours and festivals, America’s Cruise to the Edge festival, a South America headline tour, and a headline performance at Tomorrow Festival in China, the band have won the hearts of both traditional and modern Gong fanbases. During this live journey, Gong has delved further into the truly psychedelic, exploratory, and mind-expanding side of the music. » Read more

2020-01-15
Carlos Alvarado RIP – Carlos Alvarado, pioneering composer, multi-instrumentalist and pioneer of progressive rock and electronic experimental music in Mexico, passed away January 14th, 2020 at age 68 after a two year battle with cancer.  » Read more

2020-01-12
Wolfgang Dauner RIP – Pianist Wolfgang Dauner, one of the pioneers of both European free jazz and jazz rock, has died at the age of 84. With his own groups and with the United Jazz+Rock Ensemble, his playing and compositions were a prominent presence in European jazz from the mid-60s until just recently. » Read more

2020-01-12
Michael Allison RIP – Michael Allison, who since 1997 has been recording as Darshan Ambient, passed away on January 9th after a long and brave battle with cancer. He has been at at the forefront of the new ambient/electronic music scene, with over eighteen releases to his credit. » Read more

2020-01-10
Neil Peart RIP – One of rock music's defining drummers has died at the age of 67. Neil Peart's work with Rush provided one of the templates for percussion in rock, and he certainly ranks in the top ten most influential drummers of the 20th Century. Peart retired from playing in 2015 due to health issues, and succumbed to brain cancer on January 7, 2020. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Five Fifteen - Silver Machine & I Don't Remember – Here we have two four-song discs from Finland’s psychedelic progressive hard rock masters. The first (I Don't Remember) features a short version of a track from their album Six Dimensions of...  (2001) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues