Compilations / Mixes
One of the things that most distinguishes Jonathan Lee's Anduin work is his uncanny ability to take a number of real-world samples and thread them into a composition as loops in such a way that these mundane sounds are transformed into something much more arresting. In “Behind the Voyeur's Wall of Glass,” for example, a simple door-creak grows ear-catching, as do footsteps, a squeak, and an infant's laughter, with Lee shaping all such elements into a brooding backdrop for the equally noir-like saxophone ruminations of jazz musician Jimmy Ghaphery. In similar spirit, the sound of someone sweeping coupled with a percussive snap makes for an almost funky backbone to the sci-fi dramatics of “Dyadic Twenty Seven,” which again benefits from Ghaphery's presence. Such settings act as microcosms for the thirty-six minute album in demonstrating how resourcefully Lee exploits the sound potential of his materials.
Any given Anduin album is typically dark in tone, but there's a good reason why Stolen Years might be more shadowy than others in Lee's discography. As suggested by the title, the Richmond, Virginia-based artist was the victim of a home burglary in August 2011 that resulted in the loss of files (the recorded material dated back to March 2010) and gear, and consequently Stolen Years ended up being assembled from rough mixes, sketches, and reworked pieces. Even so, it includes all of the powerful signatures that identifies it as a prototypical Anduin set.
Industrial clanks, footsteps, and shoveling form a background against which synths throb and Ghaphery emotes during “Invisible Materials at Work,” and the contributions of Keegan Lee's percussion and Ghaphery's sax to “A Great Canopy of Smoke” push Anduin's material even further into a woozy, noir-jazz zone. Sampling is downplayed in the closing piece “Irene,” which instead builds multiple layers of synthesizers into a blinding ambient-drone, and not all of the album is quite so brooding or heavy-hearted. “The Transformation of Substance,” for instance, brings some relative degree of ambient placidity to the album in its restrained, slow-motion handling of electric piano, synthesizer, and guitar. No discussion of the project would be complete without mentioning the engrossing hand-drawn and hand-screened artwork by Team Eight, who contribute to the package eight cards, one for each of the recording's tracks, displaying sixteen two-colour illustrations.