Identifying Features Clarice Jensen
- 1Back To Mexico05:34
- 2Back To Miguel01:52
- 3The Devil04:34
- 4The End06:36
Info for Identifying Features
Following up January 2021’s digital release of her debut film score ‘Ainu Mosir’, New York-based cellist/composer Clarice Jensen returns with another remarkable score that should help cement her rising status as a soundtrack composer of the highest order. Composed for the Mexican independent feature film ‘Identifying Features’, the EP comprises four tracks with a total running time of nineteen minutes. Recorded at Jensen’s home in Brooklyn using cello and electronics, it’s a bold and powerful work that is as good as any drone-based material you will hear this year, and hints back at times to her critically-acclaimed 2020 album ‘the Experience of repetition as death’. Mixed by Rafael Anton Irisarri and mastered by Matthew Agoglia, ‘Identifying Features’ is released as a digital EP via FatCat’s 130701 imprint (Max Richter, Jóhann Jóhannsson, Dustin O’Halloran, Hauschka, etc).
A versatile collaborator, Jensen has recorded and performed with a host of stellar artists including Jóhann Jóhannsson, Max Richter, Björk, Stars of the Lid, Dustin O’Halloran, Nico Muhly, Taylor Swift, Michael Stipe, the National and many others. In her role as the artistic director of ACME (the American Contemporary Music Ensemble), she has helped bring to life some of the most revered works of modern classical music, including pieces by Philip Glass, Steve Reich, Terry Riley, Gavin Bryars and more.
Written and directed by Fernanda Valadez, ‘Identifying Features’ is a harrowing film that tackles the subject of immigration across the Mexican/U.S. border and the many hundreds of immigrants who go missing or die on their journeys. Most of the film’s main characters are mothers desperately trying to track down their lost children. Magdalena (Mercedes Hernandez) is one such mother, having lost contact with her teenage son Jesús (Juan Jesús Varela), who months earlier had set out on foot with a friend from their rural town in Guanajuato. Determined to unravel his fate, Magdalena finds herself entangled in a crime syndicate and a labyrinth of disorienting lies on an increasingly surreal journey to uncover the truth. The film unravels as a slow-burning descent into desperation, which is brilliantly conveyed via Jensen’s score. A 4-star Guardian review picked up on the film’s “undertow of spiritual horror”, interpreting it as “a cry of rage or a cry for help, on behalf of people in Mexico who have been abandoned to lawlessness, corruption and the vast market forces created by its northern neighbour.” An impressive directorial debut, Valadez’s film won the Audience and Jury Awards at the Sundance Film Festival.
Perfectly fitting its subject, Jensen’s four drone-heavy tracks are laced with a visceral, heavily psychedelic sense of darkness. Moving with the slow relentlessness of the sun’s tracking across the sky, and shorn entirely of either melodic sentimentality or overt drama, her radiating blocks of sound summon up the vast sense of space of the eerie, indifferent and dangerous desert(ed) landscape across which the film’s protaganists are forced to struggle. ‘Back To Mexico’ is a pulsing, pumping multi-layered drone-work that simmers with a sense of foreboding. Briefest of the four pieces, ‘Back To Miguel’ is a glistening, glacial arc. ‘The Devil’ shimmers and hangs, sending out a series of waves of processed cello that ripple like heat-haze; whilst ‘The End’ opens low before a series of slow-moving drone blocks of different weights and intensities slide in and out of focus. It’s all hugely impressive material – immaculately forged with a wonderful sonic richness and depth.
Following on from ‘Ainu Mosir’, ‘Identifying Features’ is a quite brilliant addition to Jensen’s catalogue – a captivating, powerful and coherent work in its own right that offers further evidence of her undoubted skill and suitability as a composer for moving image.
is a composer and cellist based in Brooklyn, NYC who graduated with a BM and MM from the Juilliard School. As a solo artist, Clarice has developed a distinctive compositional approach, improvising and layering her cello through shifting loops and a chain of electronic effects to open out and explore a series of rich, drone-based sound fields. Pulsing, visceral and full of color, her work is deeply immersive, marked by a wonderful sense of restraint and an almost hallucinatory clarity. Meditative yet with a sculptural sharpness and rigour that sets it apart from the swathe of New Age / DIY droners, she has forged a very elegant and precise vision.
Her music has been described by Self-Titled as "heavily processed, incredibly powerful neo-classical pieces that seem to come straight from another astral plane"; by Boomkat as "languorously void-touching ideas, scaling and sustaining a sublime tension"; whilst Bandcamp remarked upon "a kaleidoscope of pulsing movement rich in acoustic beating and charged with other psychoacoustic effects, constantly shifting in density and viscous timbre."
Jensen's striking debut album For This From That Will Be Filled was released in April 2018 on the Berlin-based label Miasmah and followed in September 2019 with the "Drone Studies" EP, a cassette release via Geographic North. Signing to FatCat's 130701 imprint (Max Richter, Johann Johannsson, Hauschka, Dustin O'Halloran, etc.) in late Summer 2019, her sophomore album The experience of repetition as death was released April 2020. Naming it among the top 50 albums of 2020, NPR remarked "This collection of requiems for a dying mother ranks among the great ambient albums of the 21st century."
Jensen recently scored three feature films - Amber Sealey's No Man of God premiered at the 2021 Tribeca Film Festival; Takeshi Fukunaga's Ainu Mosir, premiered at the 2020 Tribeca Film Festival; Fernanda Valadez's Sin Senas Particulares (Identifying Features), an award winner at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival. Both 'Ainu Mosir' and 'Identifying Features' were released as digital EPs via 130701.
A versatile collaborator, Jensen has recorded and performed with a host of stellar artists including Johann Johannsson, Max Richter, Bjork, Stars of the Lid, Dustin O'Halloran, Nico Muhly, Taylor Swift, Michael Stipe, the National and many others. In her role as the artistic director of ACME (the American Contemporary Music Ensemble), she has helped bring to life some of the most revered works of modern classical music, including pieces by Philip Glass, Steve Reich, Terry Riley, Gavin Bryars, and more.
This album contains no booklet.