Rena Jones

Rena Jones' best music is light years beyond the random digital doodling of artists who delight in the kind of glitchy noises that clear rooms and annoy your dog. Imagine glitch as just one of many sonic tools, rather than a whole genre: now there's an idea with a future.

artist:
Rena Jones

country of origin:
USA

style(s):
Ambient, contemporary classical, glitch, lounge, electronica

decades active:
00's - 10's

essential releases:

  • Driftwood (2006, Native State Records)
  • Indra's Web (2009, Cartesian Binary Recordings)
  • Echoes (2013, Cartesian Binary Recordings)

Reviewed by Mike G

My aversion to digital glitch music, that bastard child of binary code, has been with me since the sound came to pretty much define ambient techno after the 1990's and my dislike of the style remains largely undiminished to this day. Is that the CD player stuck again? Or a dodgy CD burn? However the remarkable work of American composer Rena Jones forces me to reconsider. Her recent music suggests that all the self-indulgent, wince-inducing music of this sub-genre isn't necessarily a creative dead-end.

It's her lightness of touch that makes all the difference. For this classically-trained cellist, violinist and electronic musician, the clicks, scrapes and stutters are but just one of many subtle parts that make up her beguiling and unique music. Her restraint in the use of these elements coupled with her strong sense composition sounds like a logical end-point for glitch experimentation. Her third album Driftwood (2006) marks her coming of age as a recording artist and this standard is maintained on her subsequent albums Indra's Web (2009) and Echoes (2013). Meshed with the electronic element is excellent melodic writing for cello and violin, embellished further with electric piano and a steadily shifting palate of strange synthetic textures. Most tracks are somber or a little ambiguous emotionally, without being at all alienating. Indira's Web and especially Echoes benefit greatly from additional live instruments including drums and bass; the resulting sound suggests a kind of dreamy left-field lounge music.

Rena Jones'  best music is light years beyond the random digital doodling of artists who delight in the kind of noises that clear rooms and annoy your dog. Imagine glitch as one of many tools, rather than a whole genre: now there's an idea with a future.

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