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

2020-07-22
Tim Smith RIP – Tim Smith, leader of the eccentric band Cardiacs, has died at the age of 59 after many years of health problems. Cardiacs was known for intense and complicated music that combined punk energy with the rhythmic and harmonic sophistication of progressive rock. » Read more

2020-07-12
Judy Dyble RIP – Singer-songwriter Judy Dyble, who was a founding member of Fairport Convention and one of the distinctive voices of the 60s folk revival in Britain, has died at the age of 71. Her passing came at the end of a long illness, though which she continued to work. » Read more

2020-07-06
Ennio Morricone RIP – Famed composer Ennio Morricone has died at the age of 91. The creator of scores for more than 500 movies, some of his works have become the most recognizable sounds in the history of cinema. His soundtracks for Sergio Leone's Westerns made from 1964 to 1971, are iconic landmarks in film music, but he also composed for dramas, comedies, and other genres. He won the Academy Award for Best Original Score in 2016 for The Hateful Eight. » Read more

2020-06-14
Keith Tippett RIP – One of the giants of British jazz has left us. Keith Graham Tippetts, known professionally as Keith Tippett, died today at the age of 72. His work from the late 60s into the 70s and beyond includes some of the greatest jazz produced in the UK, and stands as an impressive oevre to this day. » Read more

2020-05-15
Phil May of The Pretty Things RIP – We were saddened to learn that Phil May, lead singer and founding member of The Pretty Things, has died at the age of 75. The band's 1968 album S.F. Sorrow is one of the enduring classics of the psychedelic era, and the group existed in various forms until finally retiring in 2018. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Tim Song Jones - The Plural of Hear – Could this be the musical interpretation of fractals, recursion, and random number generation ? This is highly original music, created using mostly DX-7 and Wavestation, E-Bow guitar, digital drums,...  (1995) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues