Colin Andrew Sheffield’s “Images” was entirely constructed from heavily edited and manipulated samples from jazz records. These eight electroacoustic mosaics range in style from lush ambient loops to jarring tones like the wails of the damned. Chopped drum solos appear and retreat along with spiraling piano fragments; saxophone and trumpet scraps clash or fall in time with disfigured bass rumblings, etcetera. These song-length explorations are detailed, atmospheric, and surprising. Meticulously composed over the span of a year, this is nuanced and singular music — a true distillation of Sheffield’s interests as both composer and obsessive listener.
As an experiment, “Images” is perhaps noteworthy for its constrained source material and methodology (Sheffield still primarily uses early sampling hardware). As a collection of music, “Images” is an appealing if mysterious assemblage: an approachable album with moments of inscrutability as well as melancholic beauty. It is the most fully formed work to date from a veteran sound artist working at the height of his abilities.
Since the mid-’90s, Colin Andrew Sheffield’s audio collage work has consistently focused on the use of samples: deconstructed loops of hidden melodies and textures found in his collection of physical media. These snatches of sound are layered in harmony and/or at odds with one another, giving rise to the ethereal undercurrents inherent in his selections. As a student of hauntology, Sheffield wrestles with unspoiled detritus of the past in service of an impressionistic conception of the future.
“An excellent record that is never what you think (or want?) it to be; not jazz, not ambient, but a bit of everything combined and cut together into some haunting narrative.”
– Frans de Waard, Vital Weekly