Yes In My Backyard is a semiweekly column showcasing MP3s from new and emerging local talent.
Low-resonance, high-discomfort ambient drifter Beauclerk is a one-man drone menace, mixing glory and danger via saxophone and a Line 6 pedal. The seismic side gig of James Bradley, owner of trusty Williamsburg record shop Sound Fix, is a slow-boiling wash of loops and sound distension, patiently swerving between murky rumble, popcorn flutter, and heavenly wooze. His self-titled debut (due February 8) is the first release on Sound Fix’s new label Panpipe, and traverses rocky cliffs of Lustmord’s chain-rattling dark ambient, Jon Hassell’s dreamy Ambien sessions, Eno’s spiritual meandering, the skin-rubbing squonk of Zs’ recent oeuvre, and the last few years of the Type Records catalog. Produced by Fred Thomas (City Center, Saturday Looks Good to Me), first taste “Dance of the Stars” shows Beauclerk’s friendlier side, a three-minute Tangerine Daydream with comets criss-crossing in orbit — the perfect side dish to loop-centric YIMBY faves like Julianna Barwick, Lichens, or Megafortress.
Where do you record?
This was all recorded at the now-defunct Sound Fix Lounge. The place had a terrific sound, plenty of equipment — yes, that included alcohol — and was closed during the day.
How did you record “Dance of the Stars”?
When I work with Fred, I don’t have anything notated. It’s a bit like storyboarding for a film. I present images and ideas to him. I would say, “You’re in Antarctica, looking up at all the stars, the wind is blowing fiercely.” Then I would say, “You’re in Antarctica, looking up at the stars, and ‘Expecting to Fly’ is playing on your iPod.” We’d build a song from that. Luckily for me, Fred liked working this way.
There’s some very non-city sounds in this — things are redolent of cicadas and rustling leaves. Are you at all taking influence from the natural world?
You’re imagining, Chris. I didn’t spend a day in the woods. I will say this, though: There was an ice machine in the bar that would occasionally emit these strange and wonderful sounds, almost otherworldly. That definitely gave me a few ideas.
Tell me about your decision to make this the inaugural release on Panpipe Records . . . is releasing a record easier or harder than you imagined?
Well, it was my dream to have Kranky or Type put this out, but they both politely declined. I approached a few other labels but got nowhere. I’ve been planning on starting a label for a while, so this seemed like a good place to start. I was actually surprised at how simple this whole process has been. Manufacturing CDs is easy. Getting people to buy them is another story.
Is the name “Beauclerk” a sly allusion to your day job?
Ha! I’m afraid I’m not that clever. I could have just recorded under my name, but James Bradley is a bit vanilla. I wanted something more badass. I started looking up names of Nordic Gods and whatnot, and a friend recommended Beauclerk — pronounced “bo-CLAIRE,” by the way — an old Norman English name. And, really, what could be more badass than Norman English?
What’s your favorite drone on any record ever?
I never dreamed anything could top Fripp and Eno’s No Pussyfooting, particularly “The Heavenly Music Corporation.” But I gotta tell you, Tim Hecker gives those cats a run for their money, especially on Harmony in Ultraviolet. It has a track called “Whitecaps of White Noise II” that’s really mind-blowing.
What’s your favorite place to eat in Brooklyn?
Henry’s End in Brooklyn Heights. Marvelous food.