As ambient music has turned on itself, Taylor Deupree goes into another direction, to deliver a record that is both minimal and as it enthralling. The originator of the 12K record label, Deupree ponders the world of silence and minimal movement. What do I mean by minimal movement? There is such stillness on "January", that it is not recommended one breath for the fear of missing a sound here. Chilling, pure and crystalline, the pieces flow like clouds in the sky. Everything develops [or mostly, doesn't develop] slowly. Like an unhurried turtle, "January" flows in and out of our ears without any rush, without any urgency. To call this perfect bedtime music, would probably be an insult. So, I'll just call this great reading music. But don't mistake it for background music. This is not something to be listened to while doing other chores. You must point your ears at your speakers and give right in. While the record in itself is experimental [you're sitting there and wonder how it is that Deupree produced those sounds], it will not scare away anyone who doesn't like the experimental genre. "January" is chilling, beautiful and restful music for those seeking an adventure in nothingness. (Tom Sekowski)

Honker (GERMANY)

Completely fine wafer of the 12k-Label-Mastermind: an almost intimate Soundscape, which has impressively Impressionen of a Japan journey like the birth of its son to the Subtext. Calming clear-crystalline minimum electronics poetry down, whose extended, enlightened and geloopt improvised romance in the midst of the largest Hektik to give meditative elements is able.

BBC Music Online (UK)

Tiny dischords threaten to unbalance the delicate equilibrium of January's first track, "Img_0083", like a nail protrubing from a wooden floor might cause a spinning top to skid and topple over. But somehow the track manages to maintain its fragile balance. The main rhythmic impetus is provided by a looped fragment, possibly sourced from a musical box.

Its sound causes me to recall a little merry-go-round nightlight which used to light the darkness of a friend's room. The music conjures an ambience reminiscent of childhood: in its repetition might be spied the echo of infant voices and nursery rhymes like prefigured memories. "Img_0083" utilises the title format applied to digital image files and, although it's pure supposition, perhaps "Img_0083" is the photograph of a childĀ›s room, the blurred movement of an infant's arm rising from a cot.

"Midlight" is a further evocation of this theme; a woman's voice heard through the equivalent of a hall of sonic mirrors repeatedly enunciates the word 'tiptoe' in soothing tones. "Quiet_C" is pure shivering ambience, the feeling of the early hours when everything is strange and spooked because the body rebels against being awake; welcome pauses emphasise the penumbral delicacy of Deupree's sound. When "Quiet_C" eventually concludes my ears hum for a brief period in the ensuring silence.

Why is the imagery of childhood called to mind? On the inside of the cover there appears to be an endearing dedication to Deupree's newborn child. The photograph on the attractive booklet provides no supporting evidence however, displaying as it does an image of cloudy blue sky seen through the cantilever of a bridge.

On the other hand the track titles extend shallow footholds for such associations: "Skimming", "Midlight", "Quiet_C". January's five tracks are essentially textures which are simultaneously rhythmic and static. There's no distinction between either element: any one sound functions as both pulse and grain. It may seem ridiculous to associate the imagery of children and their surroundings with sound this abstract and yet that very abstraction allows it to be almost literally a sounding board for the imagination. If this urge is successfully resisted, January might instead convey a nebulous, somewhat airless quality like the arid warmth generated inside a computer.

Thankfully there's no edict denying the right to create drama and feeling from a limited number of signs, and the desire to make these sounds emotionally meaningful can be argued to be the fulfilment of a non-binding contract between artist and listener.

January is not a million miles from Oval's work, but it's calmer, less noisy and sustains a more fragile beauty than its German cousins. Its reflective gentleness makes it welcome as both foreground and background sound/music. (Colin Buttimer)

Music-Scan (GERMANY)

Taylor Deupree durfte fur einige kein Unbekannter mehr sein, denn seine zahlreichen Veroffentlichungen fanden durchaus internationale Resonanz. Der in Brooklyn residierende Deupree hat sich dem Minimalismus verschrieben und zwar nicht nur in digitaler Form. So verschwimmen hier digitale Welten mit Vocalfetzen und verschiedenen Klangflachen des elektronischen Klaviers und sorgen so fur eine zwar nicht gerade uberaus abwechslungsreiche, doch aber sehr einlullende und fast schon hypnotische Wirkung. Wellenformig breiten sich die Sounds von Deupree aus und versetzen den Horer in einen Zustand volliger Tagtraumerei, dem man sich kaum entziehen kann. Manch einem mag dieser sehr spharische Ansatz etwas zu eindimensional sein, doch wenn man sich die Platte genauer anhort, merkt man sehr schnell, wie viele kleine Details und Nuancen hier standig in Bewegung sind und die Platte in einen unaufhaltsamen Fluss bringen. Hier bedarf es keiner chemischen Substanzen oder Hilfsmittel, denn die schillernde, introspektive Musik Deuprees wirkt schon stark genug. Sehr schone, winterliche Platte, die jedoch auch unter Sonnenstrahlen ihren Charme entfalten wird. (Matthias) (FRANCE)

Taylor Deupree a connu en peu de temps un renommee qui est a la mesure de son talent. Fondateur en 1997 du label 12k cela ne l'a pas empeche de sortir nombre de disques sur differents labels (Ritornell/Mille Plateaux, Raster-Noton, Sub Rosa, BineMusic, Fallt, Audio.NL, Disko B, Caipirinha..). Aujourd'hui c’est sur le tout nouveau tout beau label japonais Spekk que T.Deupree a choisi de sortir son nouveau disque."January" a justement ete inspire lors d'un voyage fait au Japon avec Richard Chartier et Sogar (artistes signes chez 12k faut-il le rappeler) pour une serie de concert a travers ce pays.

Le minimalisme est bien sur de rigueur ici. Le systeme de boucle electronique l'est tout autant mais on s'en accommode fort bien. On rentre d'autant plus facilement dans ce disque qu'il est d'une sublimite renversante. T.Deupree a toujours su donner un texture interessante a ses efforts musicaux. On reste toujours etonne devant un tel deploiement de musique ambiant et repetitive a la sensibilite a fleur de peau qui laisse a penser que vous etes sur un ligne de flottaison et que vous vous laissez porter par un courant leger mais volontaire. Pourtant on ne devrait plus etre trop surpris depuis le temps. Finalement on se laisse pieger et on se laisse aller a ecouter cette musique venue d'un monde ou le temps ne se mesure pas. Si on se prend si facilement au jeu c'est sans doute parce qu'on le veut bien ou que l'on sait par avance qu'il sera bien inutile de resister.

T.Deupree fait donc bien ce qu'on attend de lui et il arrive a le faire avec la maniere. Il ne vous reste plus qu'a vous laisser aller voguer vers des horizons lointains avec cette musique brumeuse et lunaire qui vous amenera a destination sans difficultes.


Mieszkaja cy w Nowym Jorku Taylor Deupree jest kojarzony z elektroniczna eksperymentalna minimal music, lecz jest tez wzie tym fotografikiem, projektuje efektowne grafiki i podobno s wietnie gra w hokeja. Muzyke tworzy od kilkunastu lat. W 1997 roku uruchomi? label 12k, ktory wkrotce sta? sie sztandarowym przyk?adem wytworni prezentuja cej progresywna elektronike w swej esencjonalnej postaci. Jako tworca muzyki ma na koncie wiele wydawnictw w?asnych i kooperacji z licza cymi sie artystami dz wie ku, spos rod ktorych warto wymienic Savvasa Ysatisa, Tetsu Inoue, Kima Cascone czy Richarda Chartiera. Nagrany dla wytworni Spekk album "January" jest najnowszym wydawnictwem Taylora, a takz epierwszym tytu?em w interesuja co zapowiadaja cym sie katalogu japon skiej wytworni. "January" powsta? w wyniku inspiracji podroz a Deupree do Japonii. Nagrywanie materia?u rozpocze to w styczniu 2003. 5 utworow utrzymanych w stylistyce minimal-ambient kontynuuje s ciez ke znana fanom dokonan Deupree z wczes niejszych p?yt. Zape tlone, powoli rozwijane sekwencje przywodza na mys l rozwia zania z wydanej w 2002 w 12k g?os nej p?yty "Still", lecz w odroz nieniu od niej, "January" jest wzbogacony o s lady preparowanych gitar i g?osow. Cie z o jest wy?owic z tej koja cej, p?ynnej struktury jakies nieelektroniczne motywy, ale przeciez nie o to chodzi... Grunt, z po raz kolejny Deupree staje na wysokos ci zadania konstruuja c ponad 50 minut magicznej muzyki, ktora wyznacza alternatywny kierunek rozwoju lekko zmursza?ej stylistyce ambient. Pomys?y na frapuja ce brzmienia z tego materia?u moga niebawem byc poddawane eksploracji przez wykonawcow spoza stylistyki, bo s wietnie nadaja sie do remikserskich bibliotek soundow. P?yta dedykowana jest nowonarodzonemu synowi Taylora Deupree. To bezpieczna muzyka. Moz na ja puszczac niemowle tom. Acha, by?oby grzechem nie wspomniec o edytorskiej stronie wydawnictwa, bo szata graficzna albumow Spekk powala. Prosta & pie kna wersja high-quality-art'u. Sprawdz ten tytu?! (JL)

Urban Mag (BELGIUM)

Van minimaal tot zeer minimaal. 12K-artiest Taylor Deupree heeft met 'January' een nieuw album uit op het nieuwe Japanse label Spekk. Het eerste product van dit branddnieuwe platenhuis komt tot ons in een deluxe cd-verpakking in de vorm van een openklapbaar boekje. Deupree is gespecialiseerd in oneindige loops en in de tijd bevroren geluiden. Het mooie 'Stil.' uit '02 was een vrij detaillistisch en perfectionistisch werkstuk, dat een merkwaardig en hypnotisch effect had op de luisteraar. Zijn nieuwe cd 'January' kwam tot stand na een tournee door Japan met labelgenoten Richard Chartier en Sogar. Deupree verzamelde er heel wat indrukken en maakte er een pak vrienden. Dat had ongetwijfeld een invloed op het werkproces tijdens het maken van de nieuwe cd. Het album is losjes en chronologisch gebaseerd op deze reis door Japan. De inspiratie werd geleverd door een zachte maar hevige sneeuwval tijdens zijn eerste morgen in Tokyo. Het minimale en grofkorrelige procede blijft overigens nagenoeg hetzelfde als op zijn vorige cd 'Stil.', maar er werden tevens wat lichte pianotoetsen en vocals van de Japanse Sawako ('Midlight') toegevoegd aan het verstilde en gesloten geluidsbeeld van Deupree met een zeer mooi en genietbaar album als resultaat.

Phosphor Magazine (GERMANY)

The man behind the New York-based label 12K Taylor Deupree released another album entitled January, a tribute to his Japan tour with Richard Chartier and Sogar a year ago. This album combines repetition, due to refined electronic loops with subtle, almost hidden samples. Over the course of each track, the sound foundation is subtly modified by stray noises. They appear after the intro of these songs and slowly build up until they have merged with the long, strung-out core notes, which form the dominant part of the music. During the first track one seems what appear to be voices of children in the background: tiny fragments of what seem like human voices. The general atmosphere is calm, delicate, and stretchy, even almost hypnotising in some cases. Taylor Deupree creates a fragile universe in which one slowly gets one with this imaginative world and is absorbed by dreamy frequences. One starts reflecting about one's situation, while at the same time frozen electronic sounds and friendly pulses slowly glide past. The combination of vocal fragments and toy piano (by Sawako) works out very well, which makes this another highlight by Taylor Deupree, after releases on excellent labels such as Ritornell/Mille Plateaux, Raster-Noton, Sub Rosa, Audio NL and Fallt. And the new label Spekk has choosen the right composer to open their kk series.

Autres directions (FRANCE)

A la suite d'une tournee au Japon, alors qu'il etait accompage de Richard Chartier et de Sogar, Taylor Deupree a compose ce January a l'adresse du jeune label Spekk, base a Tokyo. Le fondateur du label new-yorkais 12k et depuis de Happy (Piana), Deupree voit en ce disque un nouveau depart, coincidant avec la naissance de son fils, a qui le disque est dedie.

Dans un packaging facon livre, assez beau, January deroule ses boucles abstraites. Deupree, artiste du digital, du son microscopique, a la discographie foisonnante (Ritornell, Raster-Noton etc.), est un artisan qui disseque les tons a l'aide de sa laptop. Il combine les crepitements divers et les sons traites pour construire des structures repetitives, aeriennes, ambiantes. Mais lorsqu'on tend l'oreille, les structures que l'on croyait figees se revelent etre constamment mouvantes. Les elements qui les composent n'arrivent pas au meme instant.. Sous l'apparence immobile, interferences et digressions se relaient. Et ces tons et harmonies, d'apparence numerique, sont en fait issus d'instruments acoustiques en partis, metamorphoses, comme mis en scene et maquilles.

January nous apaise et nous envoute le temps de ses 5 titres (notamment les superbes Skimming et Shibuya_9, respectivement longs de 15 et 12 minutes). Sur Midlight, Deupree incorpore meme une voix humaine. Quiet C termine le disque sur une note plus sombre, moins lumineuse, et constitue une plage d'endormissement de choix. (stephane)

Igloo Mag (US)

From the brand newest minimal electronic label (est. 2004) Tokyo's Spekk has instantaneous street cred from the moment it was born. The first release is Taylor Deupree's "January". With a liner note welcoming his new son into the world, perhaps this is a micro-lullaby - it certainly starts off that way. With mellow minor tones and gentle harmonies this imprint inaugural is memorable at its inception. With tracks like the spartan "Skimming" the direction is formally introspective, with an uncharacteristic, quivering warmth. The delicate packaging reflects the methodical contents and makes a stunning design depicting the highest wires of a suspension bridge as lines and dots in an endless blue sky (courtesy of photographer Uison). Similarly, the slim, medium-format tray card has a smooth, matte finish complementing and mirroring its sound soul. Deupree fractalizes small tones and duplicates them over and over, channeling a bright drone on the twelve-minute piece "Shimbuyu_9". It's a bit of an amorphous, gas-like piece. A sombient buzz is in the air delivering the final "Quiet_C" which rings with chi vibes and anonymity. "January" is attuned to the elements in its quest for intelligent life in heavenly cellular bodies. (TJ Norris)

Vital Weekly (NETHERLANDS)

A new label under the guidance of the excellent Plop distribution in Japan, and they kick off with greatly packed releases (booksized packages containing the CD). And two three great names to start a label with.

Taylor Deupree is of course the main man behind 12K records and himself one of the bigger names in the field of microscopic music. The five tracks on his CD were inspired by his trip to Japan, including a heavy yet gentle snowfall. A snowfall is what Taylor's music is like: sounds are looped - seemingely similar loops, but upon close inspection they appear to be different - and played in a majestical form. Taylor's music can be regarded as ambient, but he uses loops rather than drones. This gives his music a gentle, almost rhythmical touch, while at the same time it spans out over a longer period of time. Things develop in a rather minimal way throughout each track. In 'Midlight' he goes as far as using a female voice sample and one might think that Deupree moves towards the dreaded new age thing, but luckily he stays at the border. This CD continues his work from his later releases on 12K, aswell as style he is releasing on that label. Well-thought and well-crafted electronic music.

The second CD is the result of a collaboration between Richard Chartier and William Basinski. Both of them have gained quite a reputation for their own microsounding work, which, I may add, differs quite a bit from Deupree. Whereas the later works mainly with loops, Chartier and Basinski are more in the areas of drone music. Two lenghty cuts are presented here, and both use lenghty, harmonic drones as the basis of their pieces. The first piece was kind of similar to some of the work produced by Mirror, but with a lighter overall touch, while the second one was maybe also like Mirror, but here the melodic touch was an overall feature. Two pretty strong pieces, I thought, but maybe I didn't expect much else from these drone meisters. (FdW)

Blow Up (ITALY)

Salutiamo con grande piacere la nascita della nipponica Spekk, etichetta che ancor piu della gemella Plop tentera approfondire l'indagine sulle nuove estetiche microsoniche e post-digitali. Manco a dirlo il catalogo viene inaugurato da tre autori americani che da sempre si distinguono per il loro impegno nel settore. Innanzitutto "January" di Taylor Deupree, approfondimento di pratiche e metodi estetici basati sull'apparente ristagno di suoni congelati e granulari, gentili collisioni di loops e microframmenti cui si uniscono nell'occasione a inintelleggibili refoli vocali sussurrati da Sawako e rintocchi di piano elettrico processato, sospesi tra la fragile morbidezza flou di Img_0083 e la pacata austerita colta di Quiet_C. (7/8)

D'impianto piu spettrale il lavoro in collaborazione tra William Basinski e Richard Chartier, inizialmente influenzato dall'installazione di James Elaine "The Garden of Brokenness". Continue colate di suono che vibrano all'unisono e si attraversano in cerchi concentrici dalla aleatoria percezione temporale, quasi un'esperienza tattile e visiva che rimanda alle antiche passioni di Chartier per l'opera di Feldman e Takemitsu, nonche all'idea di arredo acustico di Satie. (7) Nicola Catalano

> english

With great pleasure we welcome the birth of Spekk, a Japanese label which, even more than twin Plop, will try to deepen a survey upon microsound and post-digital new aesthetics. Obviously (?) their catalogue is opened by a three American composers who distinguish theirselves for their very involvement in this field. First of all "January" by Taylor Deupree, a deepening of aesthetic praxis and methods based on the apparent stagnation of frozen sounds, gentle collisions of loops and microfragments which in this occasion have been matched with some unintelligible vocal whispers by Sawako and strokes of a processed electric piano, suspended between the fragile flou delicacy of "Img_0083" and the calm high-brow austerity of "Quiet_C". (7/8)

Of a more "ghastly" nature is the collaborative work of William Basinski and Richard Chartier, at first influenced by an installation of James Elaine called "The Garden of Brokenness". Continuous sound flows vibrating in unison and crossing themselves in concentric circles of an aleatory time perception, almost a tactile experience influenced by an old passion of Chartier towards the work of Feldman and Takemitsu, as well as Satie idea of sound furniture. (7) Nicola Catalano

Stylus Magazine (US)

Taylor Deupree is probably the most significant name in American experimental electronic music. His label, 12k, is one of the only sure bets in the entire world of experimental music, and his own work has been in the vanguard of electronic music since the early 90s. However, with that kind of resume comes high expectations for each new release. Is his latest, January, released on the new Japanese label Spekk, worthy of a high place in Deupree's catalogue?

While preparing to write this review (and to answer that question), I went back and listened to every Taylor Deupree album I have in my catalogue. Deupree's a prodigious artist, having released dozens of works over the past fifteen years, so it took a while to get through everything. However, I learned a lot. I learned that, among other things, Deupree's music is remarkably consistent. There's hardly a bad track among the ten or so albums of his that I own. However, there's a downside to that sort of consistency: repetition. A lot of his music-especially the more recent works-sound awfully similar to one another. Now, I'd be the first to say that I'd rather listen to ten good but similar albums than listen to ten mediocre but diverse albums. So I'd rather listen to Taylor Deupree's January than just about anything else released in the month of January this year. But I still can't escape the nagging impression that I've heard this music before.

January is a delicate, stretchy work, consisting of four rather long (eight to fifteen minute) tracks and one relatively brief (six minute) one. Each track begins as an incredibly simple repeating loop ("Skimming") or an incredibly elongated note ("Shibuya_9"). Over the course of each track, that simple foundation is subtly modified by stray noises or overnotes (if there are such things), but the fundamental, core sound is always present and (nearly) always dominant. Deupree used this same formula on his 2002 release, .Stil. That earlier work twisted the foundational sounds more severely, using digital decay and fractured bits to color long passages of emotional, haunting sounds. That's basically what January is doing, as well, except that here, the focus is less on glitches and more on stretching simple sounds to their breaking point. To me, this is a bit less compelling, but it's still pretty impressive.

The only real detour from this basic foundation is the inclusion of shimmering, fragmented vocal sounds that appear in two different tracks, "Img_0083" and "Midlight." Actually, it's hard to call these things vocals in the strict sense; they are tiny fragments of what seem like human voices, and they flutter together to create not the sense of human speech but the sense of human speech as it reverberates through a jagged, echoing canyon. The effect of these flutters is unsettling. They appear in the middle of these songs and slowly build up until they have merged with the long, strung-out core notes. As the sounds merge, they become less identifiable as human sounds and more identifiable as weird, alien noises. In other words, the human-like sounds build until they become part of the larger, more surreal universe of electronic noise. It's a bit freaky.

And this album is a bit freaky. As I said, it's very good-high quality electronic music, to be sure. But it does remind me a bit too much of earlier Deupree albums, especially .Stil. And I don't think it's quite as good as .Stil, either-or, for that matter, Deupree's Balance, Occur and .N-though it is better than Polr, Tower of Winds and Post_Piano. So put it in the middle of the Deupree collection; considering how good that collection is, I'd say that's pretty high praise.