Juffage – Sonic Cauldron: Live at Left Bank Leeds

Juffage – Sonic Cauldron: Live at Left Bank Leeds

Jeffrey T. Smith is Juffage and Juffage is the name with which he makes music. Having relocated from Illinois to West Yorkshire some five years ago, Smith has carved out a strong reputation for himself through extensive live performing and the release of his début album Semicircle in 2011, both of which are characterised by his technical virtuosity and sonic multiplicity. A recording engineer and music technologist by trade, Juffage is a regular one-man tsunami of sound, a complex algorithm flying in the face of auditory exploration.

In anticipation of the release of his second album later this year, and in marked contrast to the often labyrinthine nature of his previous work, Juffage has just released Sonic Cauldron: Live at Left Bank Leeds. To coincide with the first anniversary of its performance at Left Bank Leeds – an arts and events venue created from within a Grade 2 listed building, a de-consecrated church no less – the work features two brand new songs recorded in collaboration with fellow Leeds musicians Katie Harkin (of Sky Larkin), Jenna Isherwood (Invisible Cities) and Tom Evans (Vessels); the single ‘Last Few True’ and its largely instrumental B-side, ‘Bury’.

The deceptive simplicity of the looped, spatial guitar of Smith as it intertwines with Isherwood’s viola on ‘Bury’ coupled to the peaceful allure of Harkin’s voice as it traces a delicate curve across the gentle melody of ‘Last Few True’ affords both songs a deep spirituality in firm keeping with their surroundings, something that the glorious duelling of Smith and Evans’ fuzzed-out guitars as ‘Last Few True’ reaches its dramatic conclusion merely serves to accentuate.

The naturally pure lines along which both songs travel may somehow be at odds with the opaque nature of some of Juffage’s previous work, yet this apparent clarity of expression does not convey a true picture of Sonic Cauldron’s entire recording process. In seeking to accurately capture the building’s natural acoustics, Smith spent months writing a Max/MSP patch with which he could properly spatialize the sound and then an entire week before the performance itself to actually set up the PA speakers in their correct positions. In so doing he was able to construct the titular sonic cauldron in which the music was eventually played. This forensic eye for detail is rewarded with a work of quite breathtaking beauty.

Sonic Cauldron: Live at Left Bank Leeds can be bought here:


Forthcoming live dates for Juffage:

May 4: York – YO1 Festival
May 4: Salford – Sounds From the Other City
May 5: Cardiff – Holy Boredom Festival
May 6: Cheltenham – Grumpy Whiskers
May 7: London – Brixton Windmill
May 8: Basingstoke – the Sanctuary
May 9: Brighton – Alternative Escape @ Brighton Electric
May 10: Milton Keynes – MK Gallery
May 11: Northampton – Legendary Labour Club
May 14: Huddersfield – Bar 1:22
May 16: Liverpool – Mello Mello
May 17: Nottingham – JT Soar
May 30: Wakefield – The Hop
May 31: Leeds – Wharf Chambers

God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.