Exposé Online banner

Steve Jansen — Slope (Remaster)
(Burning Shed bshed1305, 2007/2013, 3CD)

by Paul Hightower, Published 2014-01-31

Slope (Remaster) Cover artSteve Jansen’s (Japan, Rain Tree Crow) inaugural solo release has been given the Burning Shed deluxe reissue treatment. This package consists of the original Slope album (plus remixed bonus tracks) along with the 2008 live album The Occurrence of Slope, plus a third disk mainly comprising pieces Jansen had created for Japanese artist’s exhibitions between 2007 and 2010. Everything is contained in a nicely designed hardcover digi-book featuring Carl Glover’s industrial photography that complements the often metallic and electronic minimalist aesthetic that runs through the entire collection. For Slope Jansen followed a path strongly influenced by Eno’s Music for Airports but brought up to date with modern technology. Besides the usual ambient tricks of the trade these tracks emphasize computer processing and sampled recordings in a way that Eno could only have dreamed of in 1978. What makes Slope especially interesting is how Jansen layers the processed and computer generated textures with the more organically — or even human — created sounds. The results give the music a vaguely unsettling and dystopian aura. And while David Sylvian’s suave, sophisticated crooning helps to soften some of the songs, vocals from Anja Garbarek and Thomas Feiner reinforce the darker and sometimes haunting mood running through the album. My appreciation for this music was significantly boosted with the 2008 live album The Occurrence of Slope. Recorded in Japan by Jansen, a guitarist, keyboard player, and string quartet, it’s an almost perfect simulacrum of the studio album (it’s even presented in the same order). Much of the backing ambiance and electronics plus all of the vocal performances are pre-recorded, but having live musicians — especially the strings and piano — defuses much of the cold and clinical nature of the studio recordings. Jansen’s creations for (naturally) Japanese artist exhibitions continue the industrial and electronic aesthetic that infused Slope, though on an even more minimalist scale. As an accompaniment to a modern art event I can appreciate these works, though emotionally they are cold and soulless. Still, if Jansen’s intent with this cycle was to challenge conventional notions of song-craft and musical recording then this package proves that he more than succeeded.

Filed under: Reissues, 2013 releases, 2007 recordings

Related artist(s): David Sylvian, Steve Jansen, Theo Travis

Latest news

2018-07-31
Tomasz Stańko RIP – Tomasz Stańko, one of the greats of Eastern European jazz, has died at the age of 76. Stańko's career started in Krzysztof Komeda's quintet, where he contributed trumpet from 1963-1967, when he formed his own group. He worked extensively with Edward Vesala, Don Cherry, Zbigniew Seifert, Chico Freeman, Howard Johnson, Cecil Taylor, and many others. Many of his recordings have been released by ECM, an association that began in the mid-70s. » Read more

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


Previously in Exposé...

Schwartzarbeit - James Gordon's Story – An entirely instrumental concept album about a burned out musician who spends his life indoors in boredom, and eventually works through it all with a fresh approach to his music. Not a very elaborate...  (1994) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues