Jessica Bailiff At The Down-turned Jagged Rim of The Sky

[Kranky; 2012]

Rating: 3.5/5

Styles: lo-fi, space rock, dream pop, goth singer-songwriter
Others: Flying Saucer Attack, Tamaryn, Jarboe, Still Corners, Widowspeak, early DCD

Not to hide my negligence behind hypocritical irreverence, but year-end lists are ridiculous. Creativity isn’t on a schedule, and I think it’s safe to assume the people that write for and read this publication don’t allow their tastes to be dictated by the change of the seasons. The seasons themselves are completely discombobulated anyway. I can’t remember the last proper winter, and I live in upstate NY where you could always count on plenty of snow. So in addition to it being a fall 2012 release, …Jagged Rim of the Sky is not timely or untimely. It is a record that deserves attention, even if a certain wayward staffer can’t be bothered to write it up at the time of it’s release.

Kranky continues to be a vital label for its consistent mining of brooding and exploratory aesthetics, regardless of whether they’re cast in the increasingly fickle light of internet hype or not. They continue to be a vital facet of the music world simply by staying the course and keeping true to their patient, endearing ambient-minded artists. Jessica Bailiff is one such artist, and she has resumed (after six years of collabs and side-projects) her spooky, unnerving brand of airy dirge to impressive effect.

As ever, her albums are one-sitting affairs. The main draw being one of refined elegant processions rather than catchy melodies and hooky choruses. One must acclimate oneself accordingly, whether it’s mild outside and you’re in a passive mood or you’re raging and looking for an outlet. There’s no use in rushing things, as the ragged appeal of Bailiff’s music comes on slowly. A dull recognition might set in. These are minor chords that have been mined into the center of the earth and back again. Be that as it may, they aren’t leaned on too heavily to aid in the record’s momentum. They are only the comfort zone for anyone who loves them some mopey post-rock, around which Bailiff’s builds a lovely chiaroscuro of drones and coos and delicately evocative textures.

There’s nothing wrong with music for music’s sake. It actually endures better than most grandiose artistic statements and can actually quench your thirst rather than make it stronger. Boundary pushing can be an absurd act, and sometimes a very unsatisfying one. The austerity of …Jagged Rim of the Sky is a virtue. It’s lived-in and baroque and lovely without being glossy or overly precious. The mid-range fidelity and the singularity of mood is an asset where with some it would be a detriment. Jessica Bailiff is a veteran prodigy at this faint, insular sort of gothic aural calligraphy and neither release dates or sunny days should prevent it from receiving it’s due attention.

Links: Jessica Bailiff - Kranky

Most Read