Chik White – Jaw Works & Behind a Dead Tree on the Shore

Two sets of music by Chik White, an alias of Darcy Spidle, whose Nova Scotia-based Divorce Records has been slinging LPs of sonic bemusement since 1999. Jaw Works is made up of solo jaw harp performances, wringing mesmerizing detail from variations in rhythm and tempo, while achieving a wide variety of barely believable, almost synthesized-sounding timbres. Behind A Dead Tree On The Shore also features the jaw harp, albeit in concert with the North Atlantic Ocean, which inspired the more minimal, rhythmic pieces performed on the shore. Organic and personal, this is folk music created by a single person in his environment, using the most basic of musical tools.

"The immense, magical strangeness of the jaw harp – man, that twanging, cartoonish sproing – fuels this release. It’s essentially a series of brief exercises. On Side A, the Nova Scotia-based White cycles through variations on his daily practice; on Side B, he improvises along a shoreline. Since each track is no briefer than 50 seconds and no longer than four minutes, a game freshness reigns and there is never a sense that the artist is repeating himself: the coiled spritely bounce of “Hiding In A Dead Tree” is as distinct from the breathy, fading hesitancy of “Dreamer’s Words” or the steady, strident vibrations of “Dreamer’s Question.” White’s tones sidle from hypnagogic to inquisitive to – in the case of “Cliff Collapsing Slowly” – downright cybernetic, the echoed thrumming contrasting deliciously with the ceaseless crash and dispersion of waves. “Meditative” is a descriptor that’s thrown around a lot in experimental or drone music, but it’s rarely this earned, even as a crepuscular unease lurks at the edges of this cassette." - Cassettegods
Artwork, layout by E. Lindorff-Ellery
Printed by Minuteman Press

Available as 320k MP3 or 16bit FLAC


1. Dreamer's Way [Jaw Works] 03:49
2. Dreamer's Dream [Jaw Works] 03:01
3. Dreamer's Words [Jaw Works] 01:43
4. Dreamer's Mindset [Jaw Works] 00:52
5. Dreamer's Purpose [Jaw Works] 03:13
6. Dreamer's Question [Jaw Works] 01:45
7. Dreamer's Work [Jaw Works] 01:25
8. Dreamer's Edge [Jaw Works] 02:09
9. Hiding In A Dead Tree [Behind A Dead Tree On The Shore] 03:23
10. Trees Suring The Mud Cliffs Of Seaforth [Behind A Dead Tree On The Shore] 01:05
11. Bird Skull Beachcomber [Behind A Dead Tree On The Shore] 03:03
12. On Fire Underwater [Behind A Dead Tree On The Shore] 01:16
13. Cliff Collapsing Slowly [Behind A Dead Tree On The Shore] 01:21
14. On My Knees In The Sun [Behind A Dead Tree On The Shore] 02:14
15. Gull Shit Mountain Part 2 [Behind A Dead Tree On The Shore] 03:05

Chik White

Darcy Spidle has long used the moniker chik white for various art projects. His latest efforts centre around the jaw harp, a pancultural, ancient instrument steeped in mystical allure. Inspired by sound poetry, noise, free improvisation, Dada, nature, and the human voice, chik white harp explorations aim to conjure visceral experiences.