Word Elements

Another release from Map 71, who we noted in 2014 with their self-titled debut. Once again Andy Pyne adds his electronic backdrops to the spoken-word rants of performance artist Lisa Jayne, and Wrong Element (FOOLPROOF PROJECTS PRJ039) is packaged in a printed booklet of poetry-prose and stark angular graphics by Lisa.

In these recordings, no trace of any effects (not even slight studio echo) added to Lisa’s voice, so it comes across as plain as a woman wearing no make-up, and her slightly confrontational edge leaves the listener little room for comfort. Her actual messages are a little obscure, and it takes rather a long time to reach the end of each stream-of-consciousness episode, by which point we’re almost lost in her interior world, forgotten where we began. She uses a lot of every-day slang and commonplace inflections, and starts out talking as if she’s about to describe nothing more outlandish than a boring bus journey through Barking and Dagenham. But the true subject matter in her mouth appears to be rather dark, and the subject only grows more intense and weird as she works out the problem through her continual verbalising.

This is original and strange. Pyne’s music still gets in the way for me, though. I noted this last time, and while his musical statements are okay per se, I’d say there’s a mixing problem or a balance problem if it’s tending to obscure key parts of the recit, which happens here more than once. For the title track, he provides a sequencer pattern which grows repetitive and irritating, although ‘Estuary’d’ is somewhat more inspired with its gloomy swamp-drone.

Overall the release feels a little thin on the ground; there are only three original cuts, including a very short one, amounting to about 12 minutes worth of music; the remainder is remixes, including a strange version of ‘Estuary’d’ which completely muffles and denatures the spoken-word parts until they become a gabble of surreal nonsense. From 26 June 2015.