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MURMER - What are the Roots that clutch

Format: CD
Label & Cat.Number: Helen Scarsdale HMS 022
Release Year: 2012
Note: finally a new full-length album by Drone Records artist (DR-85, 2007) MURMER aka PATRICK Mc. GINLEY, who lives in Estonia since a while & is still very active with the great FRAMEWORK radioprogramme dedicated to field recordings...the always subtle compositions are based on field recordings & found object sounds, sometimes very pure & concrete, sometimes processed... another drone-highlight with a very own character.. lim. 400 letterpress-cover
Price (incl. 19% VAT): €13.00

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"It was a cavernous tone that broadcast from a ventilator duct that inspired Patrick McGinley to begin collecting field recordings and working them into his slow-arc compositions. At the time when he heard that particular tone in that particular city at that particular time, he had no gear to recording device on hand. Over the next fifteen years (and counting) McGinley has eased into a peripatetic lifestyle, wandering the European countryside and forests (but never straying too far from the thrum and spark of civilization) in search of the same epiphany with his head rattled to the sound of a cavernous air duct.
Around 1996, McGinley adopted the moniker Murmer for his compositional work; and though his work often steps into the quieter realm of sound construction, much of his field recordings and resultant compositions privilege interference and disturbances that occur within any given sound ecology. Those sounds could be the elusive tone from that ventilator, the polyrhythmic chorus of chirping frogs, the abstracted roar from an Arctic wind tearing across the Black Sea, or the metallic skree from a bowed antenna perched atop a Soviet-era observatory. What Are The Roots That Clutch marks McGinley's first full album in nearly 5 years, but it marks an elegant continuation of his previous album We Share A Shadow. The five chapters of this album can't easily be associated with any specific location; instead McGinley overlaps and crosshatches his field recordings and abstractions into acousmatic passages with ghostly, half-melodic qualities. Even the two unprocessed recordings of the album are impossibly complex in their accretions of sound. McGinley's composed pieces embrace lithe, mysterious drones whose mossy, damp atmosphere perfectly situate with tactile crunches, tactile events, and signal noise generation. Eels and leaches would not be out of place in such an environment; but the subaquatic murk snaps into a hallowed manifestation of ritualized minimalism at the album's finale -- one that LaMonte Young and Angus Maclise might have conjured in 1968 with clattering percussive elements and a hypnotic blur of harmonic drone.
What Are The Roots That Clutch is limited to 400 copies and comes housed with letterpress artwork." [label info]


"Patrick McGinley just carries on. Working as Murmer since 1996 he has a strong love for the world of field recordings and electronics. Since quite some time now he lives in Estonia and walks the woods to tape his sounds, takes them home and then transforms them in whatever mysterious way. Five long pieces, from mere six minutes to eighteen minutes. The two pieces that stay under ten minutes are 'unmanipulated found sounds', the other three are 'composed from found sounds, found objects and live room feedback'. Its easy to tell the difference between one and the other. The 'pure' pieces are indeed pure pieces in which we hear the obscure sounds of motors, ventilators, or otherwise objects moved by say wind, while in the other three, McGinely chooses for a slow built up of events. A simple, single sound starts up and then slowly more and more sounds are added, sine wave like sounds leap slowly in and then at one point you'll notice that the entire piece seem to have changed and you
have a full on, minimal yet maximum output sound, such as for instance in the fifth (untitled) piece when the pots and pans in the kitchen start to vibrate and we have an interesting minimalist clutter piece, that is halfway between a drone piece and a Velvet Underground jam. Maybe that's where the real surprise of this release is, in that development of field recordings towards very interesting (and very good) minimalist, electronic music." [FdW/Vital Weekly]

"In looking at his discography alone, Patrick McGinley (aka Murmer) might not seem to be such a prolific artist; although he's certainly dedicated his entire existence to the pursuit of the field recording, its use in composition, and avant-garde sound practices in general. Each week, McGinley produces the ever enlightening Framework radio series dedicated to those very topics, starting out of Resonance FM in London with syndication now reaching several dozen adventurous radio stations across the globe. He's also active in curating a quarterly series of small cd-r editions of sound ecology, phonography, and field recording based sound art; and he also is an active participant in the Estonian avant-garde, as he's currently planted himself in the university city of Tartu. What Are The Roots That Clutch is his first full album in nearly seven years. Has it really been that long? That said, McGinley did work on a brilliant collaborative project with John Grzinich and Yannick Dauby, and he released a 3"cd-r for Taalem, both of which came out earlier this year in 2012. McGinley quips that he put the recordings aside to this record for well over a year, which may account in part for the delay; but ultimately, all of the recordings from Murmer are timeless. What Are The Roots That Clutch is no exception.
The field recordings that McGinley collects hedge towards disturbances in any given sound ecology, as found in the abrasive textures from a busted exhaust vent comingling with the Aeolian harmonics from the sustained gusts streaming down from the North Sea. McGinley does include two relatively unaltered field recordings (probably some minor filtering, but that's all) within the thoroughly abstracted and droned out compositions. One of these features a very eerie fundamental harmonic drone, obviously being activated by the wind and coupled with a glistening rattle and an unfurled flapping. The three elements here make for a surprisingly musical, if totally alien sounding piece that's akin to the Alan Lamb wire recordings. The album's 17 minute centerpiece is a slow building blur of industrial resonance and densely layered aquatic filigree that melts into chunks of clattering ice (it could be wood or glass... but ice is just so much more poetic to consider given the context); but the album's finale is where McGinley really gives us something to sink our teeth into. A comparatively harsh stutter of electrical abrasion builds up to a crescendo through water-tank rumblings and fire and / or water textures. At the peak, McGinley snaps to a downright psychedelic raga of back-masked belltones, harmonium drones, and percussive clatter that all comes together in a minimalist chorale on par with anything that Angus Maclise mustered in his dervishes and mantras.
As great as McGinley's last record was, What Are The Roots That Clutch might be even better. Handsomely packaged in letterpress artwork whose ochre-yellow hue matches the color of an Estonian farm house he's quite fond of. Limited to 400 copies." [Aquarius Rec.]