Christopher McFall – The City of Almost – CD – Sourdine

 

 

 

 

 

www.sourdine.net

Another artist whose presence is being felt across a variety of labels is Christopher McFall, his work is now gaining in stature, and as his material becomes more prolific, so it has matured also. This is the second release on Asher’s Sourdine imprint, following the wonderfully executed compilation, Graceful Degradation a couple of months back.

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

 

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About whiteline1

WHITE_LINE was set up three years ago, in order to play and promote the work of artists and musicians working under the banner of "minimalism", in all its many guises. This has led to a regular and highly successful mix slot on the Garden of Earthly Delights radio show in the UK, and guest appearances on Resonance FM (frequenzen show). We now aim to extend the remit of the mix slots by reviewing (as often as possible) material that encapsulates and crystallises the minimalist ethic, and hopefully we'll be leading artists and audiences alike towards a deeper appreciation of this and other marginalised genres. I welcome your comments, and criticisms, and would love to hear from labels and artists who would like their work showcased on the show, or reviewed here. We regret that due to time constraints, we cannot review everything that is sent to us, but will endeavour to give exceptional work an "honourable mention" at the very least, and links to quality sites that we think worthy of mentioning. I am trying to support labels and artists as much as possible by promoting their work, not least because I am a stereotypical "struggling artist" myself, but also because there are so few younger artists entering this particular scene, and there is a danger of it becoming the sole domain of a handful of forty somethings who really ought to be doing something better with their time! Having worked for most of the more reputable underground magazines in the early 90's, I was never afforded the luxury of taking time and care over reviews, as deadlines and column space were always hanging like the sword of Damocles over me. With WHITE_LINE, I have the luxury of being able to review when I have time, and I am receptive to a particular mood, and hopefully this will reflect in the quality and length of some of the reviews. If you like what you see, please link to me to encourage more traffic through the site, and cross promote whatever is happening out there. Address for promotional material: 45 Drovers Walk Spring Park, Kingsthorpe Northampton NN2 8BB UK

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