Essential New Music: Jon Porras’ “Voices Of The Air”

On his own and as half of Barn Owl, Jon Porras has tended to make instrumental music that’s expansive and visually evocative. The cinematic sense of pacing he achieves on Voices Of The Air derives from low-pitched electronic pulses that carry the listener from one still scene to the next. But while his guitar-based sounds of yore conveyed a sense of reach, the synthetic textures on Voices Of The Air feel like they’ve been stacked up into massive, looming walls.

Check the title; he isn’t just portraying the wind that blows around his ears, but also the layers of meteorological activity that extend up through the atmosphere. This music exerts a pressure that’s only amplified by the album’s half-hour running time. Simultaneously airy and heavy, it’s a trip well worth taking.

—Bill Meyer