Oli Heffernan is one of the many Bandcamp lifers who consistently produces new, weird sounds. Not only that, but with Heffernan’s Ivan The Tolerable project, the Middlesbrough native provides far more hits than misses.
Autodidact II, his latest oeuvre, is one we can mark down in the former column.
Recorded during three separate sessions in July and August this year, Heffernan suggests that Autodidact II is a link between his last LP, White Tears, (also released in 2021) and his next LP (The Long Year – due for release next month).
Only time will tell whether Ivan The Tolerable’s lonely orbits will align, however on Autodidact II, Heffernan provides an elusive sonic mélange, brimming with an array of styles and influences in the world of experimentation.
With Turkish Golden Scissors parts one, two, and three, we find Heffernan noodling in the world of Turkish psychedelia whilst skirting on fringes of improv’ jazz. While part two leans more on the post-rock terrains of Tarentel, parts one and three operate as the main cogs of Autodidact II. Both compositions unfurl with a sequence of surging feedback and drone, which eventually sees the two aforementioned worlds collide in what is a sonic freak-out of epic proportions.
From here, the remainder of Autodidact II splinters off and ventures down different paths, reaching new pockets and enclaves within the realms of experimentation. There’s the sinewy acoustic jazz interlude of Red Throated Driver and Sandmartin. The psych drone of Into the Well that that sounds like Sunn O))) having a backyard scrap with Grails.
While Helianthus, the title track, and Red Oilcloth each provide the kind of spatial drones that prove to be perfect bedfellows with Spaceman 3, Three Methods and Wylder’s Hand further explore the world of drone, but in a more atmospheric, minimal sense; like secluded adventures through the hushed orbits a la Six Organs Of Admittance.
In all, Autodidact II is a voyage that will canvass many terrains. Six Organs devotees, Alice Coltrane worshippers, acid-damaged Faust lovers. There’s even room for a Spiritualized fan or two.
While Autodidact II is a lengthy listen, it’s most certainly one worth engaging in and confirms that Heffernan’s Ivan The Tolerable project is one for all the proper heads out there.
Autodidact II is out this Friday via Cruel Nature Records. Purchase from Bandcamp.