EMS SESSIONS Vol. 1

2015
John Duncan with James Hamilton, Joachim Nordwall, Jeremiah Runnels
iDEAL 132
Limited edition CD in hot pink cover, released by iDEAL for Swedish Energies 5.

PARTY TALK
John Duncan and Joachim Nordwall: Korg
John Duncan and Jeremiah Runnels: Buchla

WELCOME AT LAST
John Duncan and Jeremiah Runnels: Serge
James Hamilton: Hammond BV + Lesie

EMS SESSIONS Vol. 1 reveals our ability of balance that we get from sound, I feel.
I believe that we are set to find a "new" balance once a conventional balance is lost. EMS sound is so analogue and has gravitation just that between "Natto". Each sound particle is correlated with gravity between them. It affects our sense of balance in listening. The balance is induced to change but some compensation avoids breakdown of the balance. Activation or induction of such an ability should be the most interesting strategy of music. EMS SESSIONS Vol. 1 is an analogue stimulator for us to encounter the phenomenon.
-- Dr. Takuya Sakaguchi

Sometimes when I have extra angst I impulsively buy new music to help calm the inner beast, whether I can't really afford it or not. Not in this case though. When it comes to John Duncan I try to get all of them. And he doesn't release every single thing that he does so it makes it easier on the wallet of the completists. I'm only a completist when it comes to a couple artists and John Duncan was the first of them for me. I so wish that I could really impress upon the people of the world John's importance to humanity life/art. Like touch a stick to the heads of strangers endowing them with this knowledge/awareness. There has never been anyone like him. He is truly truly ahead of his time which is unfortunate because much of his work and ideas I consider to be both timeless and contemporary. John Duncan is one of the truest, most honest and most genuinely experimental and frighteningly intelligent gifted artists of the last century and beginning of this one. And you can be assured that whatever he does is going to be high quality. He doesn't do shit quality ever. And this latest release with Joachim Nordwall, Jermeiah Runnels and James Hamilton that I just got is no exception. Even though I didn't purchase it impulsively, it still did the trick and has managed to help calm the inner beast of angst within me. Music heals when it's done right. And this one was definitely done right.
-- Bryan Lewis Saunders

chalkboard dust/stay alive

2016
John Duncan, Michael Esposito, Michael Muennich
2-sided flexidisk
Phantom Plastics/Geräuschmanufaktur
GM25

Michael Esposito's main interest is in capturing sound material 'from beyond' and shares them with interested parties, who in return treat this material into new compositions. This has resulted in a fine series of flexi discs - Esposito loves them and so do we - which includes CM von Hauswolff, Leif Elggren, Scanner, Francisco Meirino and others. Here he teams up with Michael Muennich, whom we know from the Fragment Factory label. Their piece together works with loops of EVP, and something that resembles rain or white noise, with slowly the addition of more scary sounds (objects flapping in the wind, more rain and thunder) and it is some perfect haunted house music. Spooky!

On the other side we find John Duncan (long time no hear I was thinking) who repeats the phrase 'Stay Alive' over and over for exactly five minutes. It has a great mysterious tonal quality. It's almost like sound poetry, but unlike others no sound effects, no computer, nothing, just his voice, repeating the phrase; what happens when it's over, I wondered. Is one no longer 'alive' then? It's great to spot the irregularities in this piece. Great double-sided flexi! (FdW)

Frans de Waard, Vital Weekly