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After I left Estonia, my journey lead me to Tampere, a city north of Helsinki.
Somewhere, between lakes and forests lives Jayson Rohde aka JARO.
He moved from Berlin to Finland about four and a half years ago and started working there as a carpenter. He likes to work with wood and furniture, but his heart beats mostly for music and exploring technical sound devices.
He started his career as a hiphop-musician years ago. Through time he started creating his own beats and soundscapes and eventually discovered the passion for his little “gadgets”.
“As soon as I go to bed I already think about getting up again to continue my work.”
In Helsinki he currently works on an experimental project with another musician. Their goal is to meet up frequently for jam sessions and then load up whatever they created in the few hours, without editing or modifying the result. It’s their way to keep flexible and experimental and using electronic instruments in an analog manner. Have a listen here.
At the moment Jayson is interested in the possibilities of sampling and the use of analog sounds, field recordings and found footage.
I showed him the Chinese-Surfer-Vase of Liisa Kruusmägi from Tallinn and told him about her surfing experience on Bali. “Bali? You gotta be kidding me.” Jayson responded. He conjured a carved wooden mask out of some box. He had made it in company of a native carver from Bali.
Jayson recently had spent one month in Indonesia and it turned out to be one of the most inspiring trips of his life.
On Bali, he told me, he learned how to relax and how to let go. Usually he would be so crazy about working on his music projects, that he couldn’t sleep. “As soon as I go to bed I already think about getting up again to continue my work.” On Bali he learned that sleeping actually is a great thing.
Not only the relaxing atmosphere inspired him, but also the nature.
For Jayson, being close to nature, is an essential condition for life quality. That’s one of the reasons, why he loves his new home in Tampere so much. “When I look outside the window I can see so far into the distance.” And it’s true. You can see the treetops and the sky, not like in big cities, where the buildings are so tall and narrow that you hardly see the sun sometimes.
On his trip to Bali Jayson couldn’t resist to bring his loved gadgets, so his rucksack was filled with sound devices up to the top. “Imagine you feel like being creative and then have to wait for one and half month, no way!”
He decided to react to Liisas vase with an audio-work. For that he would use the “electron” analog drum machine, that he bought in Indonesia.
During his stay, Jayson had recorded plenty of material, videos, images and sound recordings from the sea and the jungle. He wanted to create some audio-visual collage, combining impressions from Bali and Tampere. For that he would use pictures, that had been taken randomly by his go pro camera during filming.
Some of them were particularly appealing to Jayson. Random shots from underwater, surroundings in motion, sometimes blurry and abstract. He planned to use the matching sounds of the videos and transform them into samples. Later on he would watch the video and arrange the sounds with the drum machine and sample player live to film.
Before all this could happen, Jayson had to record matching sounds from the Finnish pendant to Balis’ green jungle and ocean. So we took a walk in the forest of Tampere to the nearby little lake.
Here Jayson looked for interesting spots and sounds. The voices of birds for example, the noise of the tall trees swaying in the wind, the sound of his dog “Flocke” stumping through puddles of water.
“Now the idea has become really big.”
Back home, he sorted out the material. When it comes to work, for him it is important to thin out things and reduce them to the basis. Also the machines he uses to create sounds, need to be of quality, but simple. If you had a good device, it doesn’t need to be complicated or complex, he explained. No bells and whistles. When Jayson works on a track, he first collects material and then keeps kicking out elements until it “feels right”.
So the first thing he did, was to boil down the selection of sounds and images to the very essence.
I helped cutting the visual material, he had chosen to create a simple video, while he was editing and experimenting with his sounds, in order to transform the recordings of nature into an electronic beat. “Now the idea has become really big.” he said. For him the comparison of sounds and images from Indonesia and Finland, had become very meaningful.
When the moment finally had come, when he was about to record the track, the atmosphere was tense.
We played the visuals and slowly Jayson started, by adding the manipulated noise of the seashore in motion, soon layered with an atmospheric setting and a decent rhythm, building up slowly.
The element of the seashore, we had integrated also as a visual component in the video. Above static photos, it structured the film into light and dark parts, moving in a certain rhythm.
So, the collage kept growing and developing a dramaturgy, getting loud and edgy in the end. “This really hurts.” Jayson commented his acoustic excess.
He repeated this process for a couple of times only and then decided to leave it as spontaneous and associative as he meant it to be.
The movement of growing is something universal. You can watch trees growing just as people grow.
Things can grow taller, wider, older, wiser. You can grow things. And things can grow together.
Being closer to nature, the trees, water and the width and the experiences he had made recently, made Jayson grow in many ways.
The realization of his idea just amazed me. In few time Jayson had created an audio-visual work, experimental and abstract, mixing impressions of two different worlds and combining it to one. The jungle can’t be distinguished from the Finnish forrest, the sounds of tropical waves mingle with the plashing of the lake in Tampere.