Jake Muir

Jake Muir’s sonic collages, made from vinyl samples and field recordings, pair pristine detail with a shadowy, secretive pulse. His 2018 album Lady’s Mantle was a foray into surf-pop plunderphonics, incorporating aquatic field recordings taken from expeditions in Iceland and California, but the hum of your veiled voice marks a shift in scenery. On his second release on Manchester’s sferic label, home also to experimental and lo-fi ambient from Space Afrika and Perila, Muir’s soundscapes channel the murmurs, whispers, and distant glimmers of the restless city night. They are an ode, he has said, to “gay bathhouses and spas, club back rooms and decadent boudoirs.”

Warping and layering his source material into fluid new shapes, Muir suggests fleeting glances and furtive encounters. His warm, fuzzy textures are both nostalgic and sensually inviting; they seem to open up a new space in the subconscious. The melting arcs in “fleeting touches” have a narcotic effect; the music falls in upon itself in droning loops and waves. Subtle hints of jazz piano on “reservoir of memory” are barely audible, yet the washed-out melodies seem to grow louder on a second listen. On “red as the print of a kiss” he marries dubbed-out synths with the sounds of nature, lovingly and carefully extended and manipulated.

Muir composed the hypnotic sounds on the hum of your veiled voice after relocating from Los Angeles to Berlin, and the effects of that move are perceptible in his drifting compositions. The fluid character of Muir’s collages emphasizes spatial shifts and transitory states of being; the unidentifiable crackles in “silent sailing” lead past the limits of perception. On Muir’s 2016 debut, Muara, his obsession with environmental found sounds led to a mood similar to the psychedelic forest scenes of GAS’s Pop. But here, his glimmering loops are infused with the decadence of a midnight cityscape. Elusive twinkling textures in “on occasions of this kind” mimic a kaleidoscope of street lights, while distant footsteps signal unidentified waltzes in the restless night. A powerful evocation of an imaginary nonplace, the hum of your veiled voice lies somewhere between the hum of the city and a faint memory, gently slipping beneath the surface of the conscious mind.

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