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Jason Hodge – Coma

This is somewhat of a surprise, and an enjoyable one at that. “Coma” is the first solo release from Jason Hodge, who in the past has been in several harsh noise projects, including a group that I was also in. This release is pretty far removed from any of that stuff, however, and hopefully this review can stay pretty objective. Definitely not what I was expecting at all, this one has some really interesting twists and turns, and although it contains some sounds that are within the realm of “noise,” the overall feel of the release is more towards the realm of experimental electronics or modern composition. There are some sounds on here that I’ve never even heard before on a release! Of anything that I have listened to lately, I would maybe compare this to the sort of stuff that Lussuria has been putting out on the Hospital Productions label. Most of the sounds happening on the release are of a faraway ambient nature, but the different levels of textures contained within them are extremely well thought-out and considered. You can tell that a ton of effort went into the creation of these sounds, which are like an intricate network of bits of interlocking information. The patchwork nature of the composition comes through as a tapestry reading a vast array of related parts of one unified story.

The spirit of the material also reminds me in some ways of some of John Balance and Sleazy P’s work in the great Industrial group Coil. The sound is very modern, but something about the overall atmosphere and intention makes me think of the more ambient aspects of Coil. There is a good use of samples and sound effects (like gong or bell) that lend to the cinematic nature of the release. This is a lot more complex and emotional stuff than one would usually expect from a noise CDr… I would put this more in the company of something you might hear on a label like Hauruck or Hospital Productions, very thoughtful and beautiful kind of electronics that doesn’t sound quite like anything else. Field recordings and industrial machinery sounds are placed throughout to add to an organic sort of flavor amidst the cold electronics. Overall, despite the cold and industrial aspects, the release has a warm and very beautiful feeling to it overall. I would love to hear some of this stuff performed live!

It’s really nice to be pleasantly surprised during a release, and this one is full of interesting twists and turns. As the release goes on (it’s about forty minutes altogether) it takes some different directions and exploratory paths before settling back on the basic mood of the earlier material on the disc. The narrative structure of the overall composition seems to have been very carefully considered before setting this down to tape, which is always a welcome thing to hear. The art is very obscure, with an old picture of a young man in military attire leaning on a tree as the cover. The label did a really nice job with the release, and the package is a good compliment to the sounds within. Hopefully Mr. Hodge will continue to release work in this vein under his own name, because this is the most fitting incarnation that I have come across for his work. I’m not too sure how many copies of this have been made, but if you can find a copy of this floating around you should snag it for sure, because it is a real gem of weird sounds and rather beautiful ambient work.

Rating: 5/5
Written by: Joseph Gates
Label: Darker Days Ahead (US) / Format: CDr / Cat. # DDA:18

1. Coma

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