Review: Jaleh Negari – Weaver ~


We know that we can bridge the gap between languages by a process of translation: the imperfect equivalence of concepts that allows us to understand, in an approximate form, what might be communicated by someone else speaking in a different tongue. For Weaver ~, Jaleh Negari broadens its application to generate dialogues between the contents of her surroundings: “trees, buildings, streets, stones, machines, plastic cups, fossils and shells”. Field recordings are used as the basis of graphic scores, which in turn are used to found new compositions. Captured on this record are both the source field recordings and, presumably, Negari’s performance of their graphically-notated output via electronics, pianos etc – a commotion of utterances in a multitude of languages, from voices whispered into the sound of fire to synthesisers beamed through running water, with meaning spilling out of the seam as Negari carries her material between these different methods of communication.

A beautiful tension arises as the elements negotiate a partial coherence. The album is characterised by a sense of “hovering”, with each sound lifted into liminality as they manifest as approximations of their original message. They pass eachother like travellers in an airport lounge, finding kinship in their mutual occupation of that non-space of converging translations yet still repelling one another on some level – synthesiser drones waft away from the insectoid skittering interference on “eliza”, while the tense metronomic rhythms for bass drum and woodblock on “cluster of knots” resemble the awkward, abstracted means by which we try to establish unity between entities with disparate ideas of time. Perhaps the most vivid embodiments are the use of spoken voices, whose words are obscured either by the stutters of overlapping delays (“differences in kind”) or withered/tampered tape (“illo tempore”, “opening pattern”). Of course, the flipside to perceiving Weaver ~ as a collage of imperfect translations is that it is an eruption of ambiguity and possible readings, unconcerned with retaining “original” meaning and excited by the idea of simply stimulating movement and collision between otherwise estranged form, instigating eruptions of meanings that slosh over the sides.