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YB+RSM – Iren



Iren is the continuation of the arm movement between the strokes visible on the paper. Due to the flow of this unbroken motion, there is no shaky pause of indecision as to where the next stroke will begin; one stroke flows naturally and rhythmically into the next.

–Ukai Uchiyama

Iren is like a parabola with no real solutions. Building complex numbers that combine the square root of negative one, an impossible feat, with good old real numbers, we can visualize a shape in our plane. Or: think of it as the PR work, the photo shoots, the care of musical instruments, the extra-musical pursuits, all of the gestures, actions, and occupations that happen in separate spheres, whose juice concentrates in these sounds.

Yea Big and Ryan Scott Mattingly’s new album Iren is a work in progress, and a work about process. YB+RSM is the first album-length collaboration to be born from the FPE Records community: Stefen got in touch with Ryan, half of the duo In Place, after hearing Half Life, their dense, dark, claustrophobic 2020 release on FPE. A remote musical collaboration began between the Nashville, TN and Bloomington, IL-based artists, resulting in… noisy jazz. Sonic reference points cluster about like-minded improv freaks Jackie-O Motherfucker and Sunburned Hand of the Man, while noir-y marimba and skronky reeds call to mind the crime jazzier moments of John Zorn.

The iren in this sonic painting is the growth of Stefen’s and Ryan’s relationship. The unbroken motion between RSM and YB – the way their “strokes” flow back and forth – is just as important as what is physically audible in the recording. Just as a painting is both a work in itself and too the product of a choreography that occurs in time and space, so this thing is both a Pollock of pointilistic scuzz and an after-image imprinted in the digital space of hearts and minds growing together.

Iren will be available digitally from FPE Records March 3, 2023.

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zine + digital, digital

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