Jesse Jarnow

stopwatch recordings on the cyberweb

Thanks to the good utopians at, I’ve recently uploaded a bunch of Stopwatch Recordings. Now available for free download:

sw02: Postcards: Atlantic City EP (Funny Cry Happy)
Casinos are tuned to the key of C. Slot machine bleeps, video poker blurps, the pings that come before public announcements — all in C. The sum total is a surprisingly warm hum, designed to keep gamblers hypnotized. Like the lack of natural light, the absence of clocks, and the recycled air, it is one of the many surreal environmental features of our nation’s gambling halls.

Postcards: Atlantic City melds field recordings made in the seedy New Jersey resort town with slight modifications made at home — new drones, toy pianos run through delay pedals, chirping birds recorded in Chelsea — that interact, occasionally accidentally, with the source.

sw03: On A Clear Night, You Can Smell For Miles (Funny Cry Happy)
The second Funny Cry Happy full-length. Songs ‘n’ shit.

sw04: Running at the Sunshine (Matthew Van Brink/Jesse Jarnow)
Running at the Sunshine was conceived as an imagined community behind the doors (and up the stairs) of the incongruously named Sunshine Hotel, one of the last remaining men’s flophouses on Manhattan’s Bowery — a point on a late-night ramble from Chinatown to a greasy taco stand in the Village. These fantasies were later bolstered by an NPR documentary, and a wonderful book of photographs (“Flophouse” by David Isay, Stacy Abramson, and Harvey Wang), which uncovered links to a New York of a bygone era.

With the story and text in place, choreographer-director Judith Chaffee and composer (and my old friend) Matthew Van Brink worked closely together to realize the story in space and sound. Employing a deep percussion arsenal, Van Brink evokes a still clattering, post-industrial New York filled with squealing breaks, rusty dumpsters, and the undergridding rhythmic bustle of a city filled with permanent transients.

NOTE: Handmade meatspace versions of these recordings are also available. Drop me a line, if interested.

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