Faint Wild Light
Between 2003 and 2012 James Ginzburg masterminded the release of hundreds of records on the various imprints of his Bristol, UK-based label house Multiverse Music, including Tectonic, Subtext, and Kapsize, overseeing the second renaissance of bass music in Bristol. It's unsurprising that such a hyperactive spirit would begin to find the strictures of dance music creatively stifling. Focusing on his Subtext label, Multiverse's most cerebral outpost, he became occupied by two projects -- Emptyset, with the curator Paul Purgas, a brutalist exploration of the outer limits of modern composition via the reduction of industrial techno to a pummeling, sensory assault, and something at quite the opposite end of the musical spectrum: a solo acoustic folk record. Dance music has always been the sound of the city, thus it's no surprise that his journey into traditional songwriting saw him wandering into the countryside. Faint Wild Light lies in the bucolic tradition of Simon & Garfunkel, Nick Drake and Crosby, Stills & Nash, but this is not a work of journeyman nostalgia; the wandering has a genuinely fevered tone, a desperation to be totally lost in some potential inner arcadia, isolated from a computerized production process. Equally it's no minimal Pink Moon; it sounds more like a '60s folk troubadour produced by a contemporary hip-hop impresario, which in some ways it is. The finger-picked guitars are carried along by a monumental sound-wall of analog synths, pianos, and strings, while the legacy of his Ginz guise is evident in the intricacies of the percussion arrangements. Rhythms are conjured from found sounds, clicks, taps, tape hiss; a drum kit fashioned from the sonic scraps on the cutting room floor. Ginzburg's particular fondness for the short stories of Cortázar and novels of Nabokov is evidenced by the narrative structure of the songs; vignettes without beginnings, middles and ends, meditations on golden days misremembered, modified visions of half-imagined pasts, all delivered with a hallucinatory, celebratory fervor.