Val-Inc – “On”

In this seamless and freely-structured chain of compositions, Val-Inc puts forth a series of powerfully emotional and psychic waves, constructed of fugue-state assemblage and chance synchronicity. Mostly putting her considerable talent for sound design and collage to work over her own percussion efforts, Val-Inc’s self-described “Afro-electronica” is both poetic and evocative.

“Sinz” is a terrific example, and probably my favorite track. With only Val-Inc’s drums, processing, and keyboards; and poet Parker Sargeant, “Sinz” is relatively simple. A sweeping phase sound moves slowly among a slowly pounding beat, while Sargeant layers sinister vocals throughout, alternating between strong declamations and hesitant question. Although the listing of the world’s woes– “pornography of the mind,” the military, genocide, inequality– can be a bit obvious, I’m prepared to forgive it due to Val-Inc’s complete success in terms of creating a moody and impressionistic environment.

Val-Inc’s inclusion of live and sampled poets goes a long way towards assisting in the creation of these environments. The fourth track, “@,” makes wonderful use of Anne Sexton’s poem “Her Kind,” alongside someone reading from Sojourner Truth’s “Ain’t I a Woman?” speech.

“I have gone out, a possessed witch,
haunting the black air, braver at night;
dreaming evil, I have done my hitch
over the plain houses, light by light:
lonely thing, twelve-fingered, out of mind.
A woman like that is not a woman, quite.
I have been her kind.” –Anne Sexton

It’s always nice to find a musician so willing (and literate enough!) to integrate poetry as a part of their work. Contrasting Sexton’s intimate verse with Truth’s heartfelt words– not to mention the slow heartbeat Val-Inc lays out on drums– is a bit of perfect ambience. You can imagine how fantastic this all sounds, especially as it flows into the more relaxed lingual-workout of “Damba,” with cut-up samples from a diction improvment record mixing with flowing synth washes and Caribbean drum patterns.

Although releasing label Innova Recordings gives her a bit much as “one of the most original and cutting edge artists in the experimental music scene,” there’s little doubt that Val-Inc possesses a strong capability for creating unique work, and that all efforts should be made to secure a copy of “On” quickly, as Innova often releases discs in a limited number.

“On” is available as release 698 on Innova Recordings.

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