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

2018-10-17
Eurock Documentary Seeks Funding – We've been fans and fellow travelers with Archie Patterson and his Eurock project on the journey to discover great music. After many years of promoting and trying to spread the word,a new phase is beginning: a documentary film. Things like this don't just happen, and money does not magically appear to make it happen, so it's up to the fans to get it done. » Read more

2018-09-29
Marty Balin RIP – One of the architects of the 60s psychedelic sound of San Francisco has died at the age of 76. Marty Balin was a singer, songwriter, and guitarist who was one of the founders of Jefferson Airplane. After the split of the original Airplane, Balin went on to form the highly successful Jefferson Starship. » Read more

2018-09-25
Help the Psychic Equalizer Avoid Extinction – Last year we reviewed the debut album by Psychic Equalizer, a musical project of Hugo Selles. He's now working on the ambitious follow-up to that release, and is seeking funding from listeners around the world. » Read more

2018-09-05
Krautrock Documentary Seeks Funding – The next installment of the Progressive Warriors documentary series will focus on the vast body of music that falls under the banner of "krautrock." As most of our readers will know, previous films have tackled RIO and the Canterbury scene, as well as what we might call "mainstream" prog rock. » Read more

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


Previously in Exposé...

Ash Ra Tempel - Le Berceau de Cristal – Remember Tangerine Dream's Green Desert? Many a time have I discussed its legitimacy as a long lost album with people. Hailing from 1985, yet claiming to be from 1973, it just didn't seem to...  (1994) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues