Review of Lost & Compiled [12k2030]

Textura (CA)

A title such as Lost & Compiled might evoke the image of somebody clearing out his hard drive and passing on half-finished ideas to a devoted audience all too eager to lap it up. But anyone familiar with Taylor Deupree’s output knows that even a collection of early mixes and previously unreleased works by the renowned sound artist will be a recording of superior quality. Originally made available at venue stops on a 2014 Japanese tour the 12k head did with Illuha, Stephan Mathieu and Federico Durand, the recording is now being made available to the public in in a 500-CD edition.

Even describing the material (in part) as early mixes threatens to mislead, as an early mix by Deupree often ends up in a far different place, the distance between the initial and final versions so great that little to no audible connection between them remains. There’s also something to be said for the refreshingly loose quality that a pressure-free early mix possesses when compared to the final version, which, while admittedly more polished, can sometimes seem as if too many of its rough edges have been ironed out.

Lost & Compiled begins with “July 032013,” a previously unreleased sketch that, being the most recent of the eight tracks featured, offers a mini-portrait of Deupree’s music as it currently stands. Interestingly, the piece on the one hand aligns itself to the kind of deeply textural music for which he’s become known, yet on the other includes a rhythmic insistence that, for a few moments at least, suggests some buried connection to techno. In keeping with the loose character of an early mix, Deupree, channeling a John Fahey or Robbie Basho, spreads fleet-fingered guitar picking across the electro-acoustic base.

“Field (Beta),” a striking alternate version of a piece included on the Room40 release Landing (2007), shimmers peacefully in a manner representative of Deupree’s meditative electro-acoustic style, as does “Sea Last (06.05.08),” a nascent treatment of a 2009 piece whose flickering ambient-drone details unspool over fourteen minutes with a measured yet poised assurance. If “Sleepover (Alt)” presents a strikingly delicate ambient side of Deupree, it’s in part attributable to the fact that the piece was created for the Lost In The Humming Air, a 2012 Oktaf compilation designed as an homage to Harold Budd. One final surprise arrives during “Journal (Rough)” in the presence of church organ-like sounds and vocals, elements not commonly heard in Deupree’s productions.

Quite frankly, had Deupree coyly elected to present the release without disclosing details about its origins, the listener—even one intimately familiar with his output—would probably hear the recording as a collection of new Deupree material and ultimately regard it as one more fine addition to his discography.

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