Recorded in Amsterdam, Utrecht, Aachen and Mei Tam Village, Thailand
INCOMING, CEREMONY and PASS composed with Christoph Heeman
John Duncan's release Incoming continues his work exploring the inner qualities of electronic drones in conjunction with shortwave radio, itself an extension of his work in pirate media, including both radio and television. The title track builds from metallic scrapes, layered with intense electronics, garbled vocals, descending electronic whines reminiscent of the final section of Karlheinz Stockhausen's masterpiece Hymnen, shortwaves, white noise, and digital pops. It is one of Duncan's first pieces that uses the computer, and Duncan is assisted by Max Springer, who also worked with him on the 1996 collaborative release The Crackling. "Flare" is a short loop exercise of vocal samples over a high-pitched shortwave background. "Voice Field" is quieter, a resonant drone that is often ambient in quality, except for the mysterious found sounds that lurk just beneath the surface and the growing intensity of the piece. "Ceremony" makes much more use of found sounds, including crowd noises and animal cries, all over a metallic drone, but transitions to quiet insect sounds at the end. "Pass" is a series of intersecting oscillating drones alternating with slabs of electronic sounds, the most electronic piece on the disc. Duncan's later work tends more to longer forms, so some listeners may find that the short pieces on this disc provide more variety and therefore more approachability. The two long pieces here, "Incoming" and "Voice Field," are excellent examples of Duncan's work, and the tendencies of these two pieces are continued through his later releases such as River in Flames and the more electronic parts of Klaar.
- Caleb Deupree, All Music Guide
Here we're at the maximum level imaginable. The hand of Heemann is not excessive, and enhances Duncan's compositional style. A more meditative and relaxing disc, always with a pulsating energy. Long resonant breathing, slow descending washes of echo, subliminal sounds, 'dark' sounds. The elements of Duncan's music are always the same but diversely dispersed in the audio panorama. Exceptionally beautiful are 'Flare' and 'Voice Field'. This is true trance! A complete masterwork, too bad that it lasts only 40 minutes. Unforgettable... and still available: don't let it get away!
- Massimo Ricci, DEEP LISTENINGS
Shortly after the release of SEND, a new CD by one of the most interesting composers working in what some call 'extreme' or 'industrial' music. Duncan works primarily with shortwave sounds intermixed with field recordings. This concept is continued on this new CD. Take for instance the piece with radio sounds (layered shortwave) that slowly transform into the screaming of a dying pig. Duncan's music is not there to please you, but to tell you a rather unsettling story. This is some of the most intense music I have come across.
- Frans de Waard, VITAL