Secret Thirteen Mix 182 - Paul Jebanasam

Paul Jebanasam of Subtext music review mix

Photo by Studio Tape Echo

Paul Jebanasam is a Bristol based producer from Sri Lanka. His name came into the world of ambient, drone, and noise music in 2011, when his live recording at the Church of St. John the Baptist was released on Subtext - a label run by him and his friends, James Ginzburg and Roly Porter. Since then, Jebanasam has released two stellar albums, Rites in 2013, and his very recent Continuum LP (released February 5, 2016). It may seem surprising that, similarly to Roly Porter, his entry point into music production was as part of a dubstep project called Moving Ninja. In comparison, the output under his own name has not nearly as much to do with structure, and a lot more to do with hardware and the use of space. It is also very cerebral, concept-driven, and, as the title “Subtext” implies, much of it is based on narrative. The idea and the image guide his sound and are enhanced by the tangibility of its presence, which is strengthened through the use of non-musical instruments in the creative process. The music on his recent Continuum record exemplifies this feature very well - at the extremities it is primordial, chaotic, but its core is melodious and indestructible. There is also the most grandiose of narratives behind Continuum, exploring the birth of organic life, the unknowability of the universe and science’s grasp on it all.

Secret Thirteen Mix 182 might be considered documentation for Paul’s next project and a way to step away from his Continuum LP. Musically, this is ambient throughout, but the tracks have a lot of individual character and among your Lorns and Asusus there are plenty of surprising turns and undiscovered gems to be encountered. Perhaps a good way to describe the selection would be calling it dreamlike - not merely because of its tone, but also because its narrative seems to follow an oneiric logic, where shifts in plot are accommodated matter-of-factly despite how wild they may be. The mix certainly has a touch of the sublime, and also perhaps a message of reconciliation and rebirth as suggested by the amazing track off the Akira OST, Walt Whitman’s love letter to humanity and Paul’s own tracks, which serve as a fittingly grand ending. Mark Rothko’s abstract painting „Untitled Mural for End Wall“ could serve as a good visual representation of Jebanasam’s collage of music. Rothko’s rectangular forms floating on a stained field of shimmering color convey a strange sense of spirituality and evoke endless metaphysical questions. This thoughtful quality is also striking in Paul’s mix.

Paul on the mix

“This mix is an experiment in collage and is part of a sketchbook of ideas for the next project I'm working on. I've recently been working with electroacoustic methods of composition and listening to a lot of what would best be described as academic electronic music.

Even though a lot of this music attempts a kind of compositional rigor, it often feels anti-structural to me. I'm interested in this approach after finishing work on a record which has a very clear mechanical system at its heart. There is very little connective logic between these tracks to me so the construction of the mix felt more about testing their differences which created some interesting possibilities.

The world currently seems impossible to describe using logical statements so discontinuities feel a lot more potent to me now. For a long time, I'd forgotten the extent to which sound composition can navigate the territories of conflicts, instability and the unthinkable aspects of our world.”


01. Ebe Oke - Transit of Venus
02. Iain Armstrong - Strange Attractor
03. Lorn - The Maze to Nowhere - Part 3
04. Kepla - Selfplex
05. John Murphy - Sunshine
06. The Sprawl - Personality Upload
07. Dakha Brakha - Nad Dynaem
08. Monty Adkins - Symbiont
09. Henryk Gorecki - Symphony No. 2
10. Monty Adkins - Cortex
11. Luis Dufort - Hi_Res
12. Binary_Finary_-_1998_(Matt_Darey_remix)
13. Asusu - Alloy
14. Lorn - There Is Still Time
15. MHYSA feat Chino Amobi - power cuts
16. Lotic - Rewound
17. Helm - Sky Wax
18. Roly Porter - In System
19. Requiem (Akira OST)
20. Iain Armstrong - Matchine
21. Jon Hopkins - Open Eye Signal - Asleep Version
22. Paul Jebanasam - search another 3Hφ˙ = lose you i), place i=0 doubt I V (φ) am ∝ exp( √ 16π to meet you again pm² P φ
23. Gilles Gobeil - Ombres, espaces, silences...
24. Henryk Gorecki - Totus Tuus
25. Walt Whitman - To A Stranger read by Ole Irenaeus
26. Nico Muhly - Drones and Melody
27. Paul Jebanasam - eidolons beginning p = (m²A ² am to (rho-z)-y ∂t+(ρ see to wait dz/dt = it xy that I -beta* do not z countless

About Author

Tadas Švenčionis is a Secret Thirteen editor and journalist. He organizes the occasional event in Lithuania and is obsessed with the harsh, the sad, the delirious, and the political.

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