Jaye Jayle’s earliest recordings consisted of four 7” singles packaged in the bare-bones dust jackets of early country 45s and etched with the stark Americana-noir of Louisville-based singer/guitarist Evan Patterson. The material was a significant departure from Patterson’s primary musical endeavor at the time—the percussive Sturm und Drang power trio Young Widows—but it fell in line with his ongoing creative arc of embracing of negative space, acknowledging that less is more, realizing that a whisper can speak louder than a yell.
On their new album No Trails and Other Unholy Paths, Jaye Jayle’s transportive desolation and hallucinatory sonic mantras are fully documented in all their glory. With his cohorts Todd Cook (Shipping News, The For Carnation) on bass, Neal Argabright (Phantom Family Halo, Freakwater) on drums, and Corey Smith (Phantom Family Halo) on auxiliary instrumentation, Patterson weaves a tapestry of neo-folk’s economy, krautrock’s experiments in repetition, skid row’s darkest blues, Midwestern indie rock’s nihilism, and early Tangerine Dream’s analog oscillations. The album seethes with tension and anticipation, with a heightened push-and-pull on tracks like “Marry Us” and the second song titled “No Trail” when songwriter Emma Ruth Rundle adds call-and-response vocals to the mix. It’s been a considerable journey from those raw and intimate early 7”s, an evolution undoubtedly affected by the relentless touring schedule that transformed Jaye Jayle from a solo project to an immersive collaboration.
“The album has a lyrical theme in motion and direction, searching and questioning, and discovery,” Patterson explains. “A certainty in placement and uncertainty in destination. Primal consideration for surroundings, which may be or may not have been the surroundings sought after. The grayness of life's paths. The where-have-I-been, where-am-I-now, and where-will-I-be.” It’s a wanderer’s approach that yielded an unlikely romance and expatriate dreams between Patterson and Rundle during a European tour together in support of their split 12” The Time Between Us. It’s an approach also taken to the studio, where the band worked with film composer Dean Hurley—David Lynch’s music supervisor of the last twelve years—to serve as producer. The songs were recorded at Earth Analog by Warren Christopher Gray and handed off to Hurley to manipulate at his will. The result is an album that retains its frugal approach but pushes its aural dimensions to their thresholds.
-- by Brian Cook