15 October 2006

Mnortham - Automnal 2003 - and/OAR - CD

And/OAR continues to impress me as a label with its varied, original and extremely high quality release and it’s clear that owner Dale Lloyd takes a great deal of care over every single release.

As such it’s always a pleasure to hear a new CD from such a quality imprint and this release from Mnortham is absolutely sublime.

The three tracks that make up the 55 minute CD are audio snapshots of three different locations in time and reflect the ideas and feelings the artist had whilst relocating around the globe thirteen times in the just two years, culminating in his arrival back home in Autumn 2003.

Prepare to be soothed and engaged by the work on offer here as there’s a tangible sense of difference between the pieces, even though the approach is roughly the same each time with processing of location recordings and found sounds forming the main structures.

‘Glacier Du Trient, Switzerland/France’ is a light, breezy, yet discordant piece that lifts you up with its high end drone sounds and insistent clicks in the background which force you to pay attention. It’s hard tune it out and you’ll find yourself listening to it in depth and discovering more and more resonant frequencies existing than you imagined at first.

‘Eagle Creek, Indianapolis’ has a heavier, more oppressive tone and bears a similarity at times to some of the work of Wolfgang Voigt under his Gas moniker. Combined with the sound of cicadas in the background the organic tone that drives the track forward gives you a palpable sense of a wide open space inhabited by creatures of the night.

The final piece ‘Ils Grosbois, Montreal’ is the most haunting of the works here. A mid/high-frequency drone that works with discordant layers resonates at just the right level to create a sense of dislocation, gradually adding in subtle static sounds and scratchy, gritty tones into the background. Again this give the track a real sense of movement, driving it ever forward.

And it’s this sense of moving and never settling in one place that permeates the whole CD… a feeling of transience captured for eternity on a piece of encoded plastic.

That’s the magic of music and it’s certainly where the magic of this CD comes from.

A delightful, beautiful and very personal piece of work.


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