The City of Almost is one of McFall’s most coherent works so far in my opinion, pulling together five pieces that are robustly engineered, tightly focussing on hard digital treatments, exemplified by opening track, Slow Containment, a tense, almost claustrophobic piece, divided into segments, that shift around the audible spectrum like a prowling predator, harnessing granular elements woven between airy atmospherics.
The theme is continued in One of Several Possible Endings, as field recordings are stretched over a canvas of menacing rumbles and a winding central theme that could be a sampled choir, or a frozen orchestral gesture, all the while, peppered with bursts of activity, curious industrial knockings and scrapings right at the front of the mix, giving a taut, visceral feel.
Mc Fall is gaining ground as a field recording artist, but combined with that are elements of social commentary, and where Chris Watson records and documents the natural world, McFall occupies a somewhat unique position as an auditory diarist, using his hybridised recordings to locate and manifest sites of personal significance, and document to some extent, their erosion. Requiem for Troost is a beautifully exectuted homage to Troost Avenue in Kansas City, Mc Fall’s home town, and the track, dripping with melancholy, shimmers and grates with the patina of oxidation, a slow-mo deconstruction of parts, that gently and entropically winds down to its finale..wonderful stuff. Closing piece, All Parts Contained is a gristly, edgy piece, using what sounds like failing vinyl, over an atmospheric backdrop of vibrant yet oblique samplings. Overall then, McFall’s work materialises through intelligent use of field recordings combined with unique “found” elements to invoke curiously engaging sonic narratives that stand up to repeated and detailed listening. Fine stuff indeed. BGN