C^VES is a new music project by Burke Jam, a musician and sound artist who came to Iceland in 2015 to explore the country’s sonic terrain. Burke experienced a formative and tumultuous time during his stay that led to the beginning of a new music project, named C^VES—a reference both to the unseen and subterranean, and the act of collapse.
The resulting album, ‘Bleeding Rainbow,’ is a textural and atmospheric interpretation of what he found. It incorporates everything from deep, earthy fault-line rumbles to twilit micro-melodies; from submarine gurgles and tidal washes of sound, to the pounding thrum of nights spent in Reykjavík’s clubs and bars.
We asked Burke to tell us how his time in Iceland influenced his process in creating the record. Read his heartfelt account of that process below.
C^VES: Before relocating to Iceland, I had been on a long hiatus from direct music production. I had spent the previous three years completing a Masters Degree in Fine Art, and my creative energy had been centred on that. My research and interest are in sound—how to synthesize and articulate the relationship between people and place by identifying and listening to the cacophony of sounds that make up any given location. This research brought me to Iceland.
I found the country to be a fascinating juxtaposition between isolation and community. Between urban culture and vast expanses of land… the wind, rock, moss, ice, snow, water, light and darkness. The whole place, to me, is alive. The tectonic heave and tremor is not only visible in the landscape, it’s something you can feel laying in bed in Iceland—listening to pipes chugging with geothermal heat.
The simultaneous violence and stillness of the physical place became powerful metaphors, and led me to a new understanding of the ways the these things act within our lives. Iceland is powerful in a way I haven’t experienced in many other places. To experience geology and light as physical narrative, against the preconceptions of my heart and emotions, was really not comfortable for me. This process of getting my emotional ass kicked, and watching so much of what I had been and known before fall out from under me from half a world away, was incomprehensibly potent. So much so that by the time I moved back home I felt like a ghost—like I had been hollowed, an empty cicada shell. I was severely depressed.
The outcome, however, was that the intensity of it had rewired so much of myself that I didn’t understand how to process anything. And that was the best gift I could have received, as an artist, and as person. When I started making ‘Bleeding Rainbow’ I had only one goal: don’t make anything that is not pure joy to make. I let myself get absorbed simply for the love of pushing sounds against sounds to see what would/could happen. In doing so, I realised what I was listening for, and responding to, was my experience of being in Iceland. As soon as this clicked, the process became a love letter—to the place, the time, the experiences, and the people… you are all in there. It’s my opportunity to just say thank you, I love you.
C^VES is the geology and the process.