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Organum, "Ikon"

David Jackman, the man behind Organum, has for the past several years made a nice name for himself by ripping off the people who might want to hear his music. Whether by charging $20 for new 7" singles, publishing obscenely limited releases, or releasing CDs at full price with no packaging (there were two or three CDs that arrived in shops for $12 + in intentionally empty jewelboxes), Jackman's gall has become the focus of conversations much more often than his music. This CD, the latest in a series of informationless reissues of older recordings, is a full-priced CD that contains 15 minutes of noodly New Age.

Apparantly, Jackman owns a delay pedal. He must be damn proud of it, because he's smothered all the wordless chanting (I'll bet he spells "magic" with a "k" at the end) and breathy woodwinds in reverb and delay. Perhaps this was intended to convey space, atmosphere, or dramatic weight. Sorry, but it just sounds like a flute and a delay pedal. I was stunned by the amateur-ness of the music, since Organum has produced many fine works before and since this recording. There have been plenty of New Age-like moments in the Organum oeuvre (much of "Veil of Tears", for instance), and his style of bowed-metal drone does have the tendency to induce sleepiness, but this is the lightest music I've heard from him. And I know that he isn't an amateur: he's played with Eddie Prevost of AMM, Steven Stapleton of Nurse With Wound, I believe he was involved in Cornelieus Cardew's Scratch Orchestra, plenty of heavy folks. But this may be strictly for the fans who didn't get the limited-edition cassette version of "Ikon" when it came out in 1987. If another EP was tacked onto this CD in the same manner as the two previous Organum reissue CDs, it would have justified the price and might have made the CD better by adding some darker or more challenging material after or before it. Remember the old joke: two men are on line at a cafeteria, and one says to the other "The food in this place is awful!". "I know," the second man responds, "and the portions are so small!"