The Squid's Ear Magazine

Jerman / Barnes: Hiss Lift (Room40)

Two extended sound collages and cut-ups from field recordings and percussion recorded during tours from 2014 to 2017, the title taken from a sign in one of the hotels that Jerman & Barnes stayed at, apt for the mix of punctuating locations, dissipating noise and unusual percussive passages, a fascinating journey that expands and contracts to make captivating stories.

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product information:

UPC: 764227878377

Label: Room40
Catalog ID: RM 4180CD
Squidco Product Code: 31719

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2021
Country: Australia
Packaging: Cardstock Sleeve, sealed
Recorded 2014 to 2017 .


Jeph Jerman-percussion, field recordings

Tim Barnes-percussion, field recordings

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Sample The Album:

Descriptions, Reviews, &c.

A note from Jeph Jerman

"What I remember ...

...a car on fire alongside the highway in the middle of the night. Waking in someone else's bed in London with an entire poem spilling into my head, and then recording it with Tim in the kitchen after breakfast.

Seemingly endless car, bus and train rides full of the country side splintered and refracted through glass and fatigue, always the same, always different. The screaming woman at the airport who pulled the fire alarm, evacuating the terminal. Some guy in Brooklyn talking through our entire set...

...smoking rope and playing chess with Jean-Herve Peron. Playing in that giant concrete bunker on Mare Island, our sounds smeared by endless reverberation. People smoking heroin in the bathroom in Oslo, setting off the fire alarm toward the end of our set, and the freezing room in Den Haag. Improvising in the back seat of Tim's car while he drove and recorded it, somewhere in Indiana. The guy shooting up in the stairwell of that dilapidated squat in Berlin, and the whirlwind tour of the city at 3 AM. Chocolate you could snort in Antwerp. Crossing the English Channel through the Chunnel, and our entire train loaded onto a ferry to cross the Baltic Sea.Spending a lot of time together, without ever running out of things to talk about.

It was Tim who said that our next record should be called hiss lift. We saw it on a sign pointing to an elevator in some hotel, the two words in different languages. For me, that phrase conjures up vague thoughts about tape manipulation, a finger on a switch so marked. We talked about the record a lot, mostly on trains, and came up with other titles launched from subtle in-jokes. What we didn't talk about in any detailed way, was what it would sound like.

Lounging on-board and resting, not focusing on any one thing I could watch the landscape from two or three different directions at once, all rolling into and out of each other's reflection. Different surfaces displayed aspects on the inside of our compartment, highly distorted by their curvature. It struck me that it was very similar to the music that Tim and I had been making, and that spark set off the fire you now hold.

Every tour that Tim and I did is represented here: Two runs through California and two up the east coast, a tight circle in the mid-west, and three weeks in Europe and Scandinavia. The spoken word bit is the recording we made in the apartment in London, and the rest is a melange of places and times superimposed. Sounds reoccur, jutting up in varied combinations, ghosts peeled and pasted. Sudden thwacks announce shifts of scenery, a door closes, another opens.

In Schiphorst, there was a William S. Burroughs book lying on the sofa. Burroughs once talked about all human experience being a cut-up. You walk down the street and your eyes alight on different things as you scan your surroundings: don't walk/DRUGS/"spare change?"/ PLAY on the side of a bus, now the street through flashing glass. This idea also illuminates hiss lift, spotlighting the notion that what you remember is not what happened.

Here then are our cut-ups, mnemonic prods diced and displaced. The residue of experience passed hand-to-hand."

Artist Biographies

"Jeph Jerman is a musician who began his musical career drumming and playing in bar bands. In the 1980s, he became aware of other sonic possibilities for his drum kit and started learning to improvise and record his own music. During this time Jerman was a frequent collaborator with other musicians who were also exploring improvisational techniques. In the mid-1980s, Jerman founded a cassette label for the distribution of music by himself and friends. The label released over 50 cassettes, several LPs, and a short-lived magazine.

After relocating from Colorado to Seattle, Jerman continued playing with local groups of improvisers and began giving solo performances where he improvised with mostly natural found objects, a practice he continues today. He founded the first animist orchestra dedicated to making larger scale works using natural object play. In 1999, Jerman moved to Cottonwood, AZ. He continues to investigate sound and recording in many forms including field recordings, the building of crude sound making devices, and the effects of age and other damage to analog tape. Jerman's 2014 Grants to Artists award funded recording and touring with Tim Barnes. Jerman continues to collaborate with Dave Knott in a band collectively known as The Yes, Well, and with Tim Barnes, with whom collaborated on an FCA-supported record released in 2015 (Erstwhile Records.) Other CDs and works are available on Anomalous Records, Semperflorens, and Trait Media Works."

-Foundation for Contemporary Arts (

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

"Tim Barnes is an internationally-known percussionist, electronic musician, and recording producer/engineer who has played and recorded with Sonic Youth, Wilco, Body/Head, Jim O'Rourke, Silver Jews, Neil Michael Hagerty and the Howling Hex, The Tower Recordings, The For Carnation, and MV+EE, as well as being featured in countless multiple other settings, from jazz-influenced free-improvisation to full-on rock n' roll. He is the Artistic Director of DREAMLAND, and also runs the newly-revived Quakebasket record label (best known for its mid-1990s archival releases of solo work by Angus MacLise, poet and original drummer for the Velvet Underground). A California native, Tim moved to Louisville, Kentucky in 2007 from his longtime musical base, New York City."

-The Other Side of Life (

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Track Listing:

1. 40 Pictures Of Frozen Lakes 16:52

2. A Lovely Little Pain 19:30

Related Categories of Interest:

Electro-Acoustic Improv
Improvised Music
Duo Recordings
Percussion & Drums
Field Recordings

Search for other titles on the label:

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