Somewhere beyond atmosphere but within gravity’s pull—nearly freeform yet defined by its unerring direction—you’ll find Anywhere Out of Everything, the latest (mostly) instrumental full-length from Telephone Jim Jesus. Arriving three years after George Chadwick’s auspicious solo debut, 2004’s A Point Too Far to Astronaut, Anywhere offers further exposition of the themes and methods of its predecessor, but while that last album was celebrated for a lush etherea punctuated by bright bursts of rhythm and light, this one works its duality to the fullest throughout. The end result is a multihued textile of living song that can be admired both for its constituent parts—mini opuses with aural narratives unto themselves—and as a subtly evolving whole.
“Did You Hear?” begins loose and free, warm fuzzy tones and effected acoustic guitar intermittently trading spaces with loping darkness. As the album earns its momentum, Tel Jim Jesus pulls bloops and bleeps down from the atmosphere and welds them to the song body. The opener gets heavier, louder, then boils over in upbeat acoustics and controlled squelch. Alias contributes to “Birdstatic,” which lays a blanket of orchestral synth over a rapid, wooden-block beat, guitar that plays like harpsichord and whizzing bottle-rocket blasts, while “Ugly Knees” weaves rattling, hollow guitar tremolo with big break-beats, stuttering snares and Dictaphone epiphanies from Pedestrian and Doseone. Anywhere’s curious, soma-like acceptance of melancholy as something beautiful and invigorating continues through the slowly unfurling “Featherfall” (featuring electric cello from Subtle’s Alex Kort) and the windy, ominous “Leather & Glue.”
But with “A Mouth of Fingers,” an intricately layered crystalline head-nodder featuring Ped and Bomarr, Anywhere takes a turn to the aggressively exuberant. And “Suicide Wings” offers a big, bouncing, dirty musique concrete reworking of “Birdstatic” before breaking itself over a classic Anticon banger reverently dubbed “Dice Raw.” Here Pedestrian spits stylized venom over TJJ’s electronic bump (a seamless mix of old school and Eno) and WHY? singsong-raps the wistful refrain: “What’s your life like?/Man, mine ain’t real/Every time I wake up/like, ‘Run that reel.’” That velocity continues with the hugely gorgeous “Hit By Numbers” (featuring Bomarr)—with its brilliant kaleidoscope of high-register synth shards, Tubeway Army-conjuring bass synth and clackety percussion—and peaks with “Faces All Melted” (featuring Bomarr and Odd Nosdam), where TJJ chops acoustics like the Books, manipulates texture like Chris Adams (HOOD, Bracken), and bends mood like Cornelius.
Finally, the eight-minute dusty swirl of “The Castle by the Freeway” thrusts us back into orbit. And hurling through electrical buzz, we’re left to contemplate Anywhere Out of the Everything, an album ultimately borderless, but so perfectly defined by one man’s path and the many avenues he’s explored both in and out of the world.
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