CD Review: J.C. Combs

J.C. Combs
Spectropol Records

J.C. Combs is a Seattle-based composer who puts emphasis on improvisation. Spectropol Records is a Bellingham-based label that releases music that tends to lean towards the weird and experimental side. So, sounds like a match made in heaven, right?
Combs’ release Gazing is a three-song collection of processed piano recordings, with each piece “serving as a sonic reverie between worlds,” as he states on his Bandcamp page. What that is supposed to mean exactly, I can’t say. “Sonic reverie” probably means that the sounds (as the tracks are not really songs in any traditional sense) are meant to put the person in a dreamy meditative state. The “worlds” part, I guess is totally up to the listener.
Anyway, screw trying to figure out what it is exactly. The music itself is, like stated earlier, processed pianos. It is really as simple as that. There are three songs (or worlds, if you will?). Two of them are right around two minutes long, and the third song “Apparition” is sandwiched in between the two songs and is a little more than 5 minutes long. The composition side of Combs’ work really shines in “Apparition,” which travels through many movements until reaching a peaceful and relaxing end. In the end, I suppose it makes more sense to look at “Gazing” as one complete work, rather than a collection of songs.