My first listen to The Illusion Of Infinitesimal happened without my knowing. I was playing an entirely different record for the umpteenth time – Barren Harvest’s Subtle Cruelties, as it happens – when I began to notice elements of the landscape that didn’t exist before; gigantic agitations of low frequency that felt like yawning canyons either side of the central melody (which, given the Subtle Cruelties’ ties to death and fragility, actual fit quite effortlessly). In fact, France Jobin’s music had started playing in a separate audio player, quiet and light enough to slip within the other record – like a mist dispersing among a forest – until louder gestures jolted my consciousness to its happening. In some ways it was a wonderful introduction. The Illusion Of Infinitesimal exists regardless of my ability to hear it, and with so much of the sound occurring on the absolute horizon of my perception, as mere glints of sunlight brushing a faraway object, I am spellbound my the possibility the much of the record exists beyond my radius of perception.
And in fact, many of these sounds seem fragile enough to fracture under the mere act of listening – electronic tones whirr like glass blown into thin, straight tubes, while other melodies curl faintly in the air as gas, cycling through patterns instigated by gravity and the wind, threatening to fade from thin translucency into absolute invisibility. Some of those high beeps sound like ultra-fine syringes slipping painlessly into my head, while flickers of real world places and objects appear as the album’s percussive flaps grant it fleeting, brittle shape: a soft rustle midway through “0” reminds me of brushing a woollen jumper against a duvet during a mid-afternoon nap, while flutters of tiny snipping noises cause me to question whether ants may be cutting my hair as I sleep.
I can never be quiet enough. I shuffle momentarily in my seat and Jobin’s world is shaken, once pristine and now not. The sound is so precise that I wonder if, as a human being, I am too clumsy to understand; even as I transfix on an acoustic guitar loop that captures the sound of sweat and fingerprint scuffing the strings, its repetition renders it a gesture of deliberation and the immaculate, tugging it away from its momentary associations with failure and mistake. Similarly, the drone carrying the record to its conclusion is still too pure and beautiful for organic instigation in spite of its thickness and audibility, humming like an accordion that can never be entirely compressed. My world is too loud, and I can either pursue a helpless search to find a spotless, silent space in which each particle of The Illusion Of Infinitesimal can be impeccably rendered, or I can accept that the record will tilt between another dimension and this one, fading into a silence that an earthly organism will never know.