Exposé print issues (1993-2011)
Jarguna — My Temple 2
(Projekt no#, 2022, DL)
Jarguna & Nicola Serena — Amongst Jungles
(Projekt no#, 2023, DL)
by Peter Thelen, Published 2023-02-24
Any regular reader of Exposé over the last four-or-so years should be at least familiar with the name Jarguna, the working name of Italian sound sculptor Marco Billi, during which time we have reviewed a dozen of his releases, both solo and in collaboration with other like-minded travelers. This double review considers his most recent release, My Temple 2, a follow-on from his 2020 release My Temple, as well as the collaboration with Nicola Serena titled Amongst Jungles. Serena has been releasing music since the 80s, both as a member of the dance/techno groups R.E.M. (not to be confused with the well-known American band) and Out of Sync, and later as a composer and arranger of TV documentary soundtracks under the name Nick Straybizer Serena (with seven releases to date).
Much like the original My Temple from 2020, My Temple 2 is a single long form piece around an hour in length, a cascade of slow moving floating ambient chords occasionally mixed with mysterious field recordings and duly informed by metallic sounding textures that fold gently into the fabric of the piece. The evolution is slow to a point that the listener might not even recognize the changes as they occur, fading over one another and into the flow as the piece slowly proceeds down its path, a slow swirl that might well remind of Tibetan bells or glass bowls as they echo in the distance through a blanket of thick fog in extreme slow motion. There are few signposts to let the listener know where they are, only an endlessly stretching ribbon that seems to stretch out in all directions at once, folding back inward as we follow the continuum. If the dreaming starts before you get to sleep, worry not, that’s the expectation with ambient soundscapes like My Temple 2, imersive alteration of consciousness. A short four-and-a-half minute excerpt of the main piece is included as a bonus track, though don’t expect that to bring you the full effect that an hour in the cosmic spiral does, but at least you’ll get an idea.
Amongst Jungles is a completely different experience, even though it’s comprised of many of the same types of sounds — organic ever-expanding synth drones, found sounds (including voices), cosmic sounds of shimmering starlight, gentle mystical sequences, and more. If anything, it’s more of an electronic album in the classic sense of the word, with clusters of bold colors dancing across the listener’s field of vision and bristling arrangements of sequential evocations, swirling around inside the overall immersive experience. The album is comprised of eight pieces of varying length (from under six minutes to over eleven), and although the pieces tend to shift gears and alternate frequently, they could generally be described as a fifty-fifty mix of sequenced electronics and gentle floating ambient, with field recordings of water, wind, insects, and animals adding to both as required. With an appropriate title, “The Forest Does Not Sleep” seems to feature it all, cicadas, crickets, monkeys, some random hand drum percussives, gently bubbling synths amid pastel floating abstractions, creeking sounds of a walkway through the jungle, the cooing in the background, all mixed together with a blanket of beautiful electronics. True, as previously noted, this is a completely different experience from the mostly textural nature of My Temple 2, though both offer a powerful experience for deep listeners.
Related artist(s): Jarguna (Marco Billi)
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