Monday, July 09, 2007


From our how-the-fuck-did-we-miss-this files: the fine folks at Intransitive have bequeathed us a couple of CDs this week that we're embarrassed not to have already found on our own, as they've been out almost six months now, and certainly weren't hiding. One is a stellar collab from label head Howard Stelzer and NZ destructo-unit Seht, and the other is a really mind-boggling collection of noise/drone/waves/ear-massages/ear-rapes from sound-god Brendan Murray. I call him that strictly on the basis of Wonders Never Cease, cause it's really a pretty much perfect slab of audio manipulation - at least if, like me, you like hard-edged noise but are also a sucker for droning ambience, electronic drift, waves of organ-like waft, and anything else that touches the same kind of lobe-buttons as the power harmonics of Rhys Chatham or Tony Conrad, the hypnotic soothe of the Kranky roster, the melodic noise of Fennesz or Tim Hecker, all wrapped in a noise edge that keeps it from floating into the clouds or fading off into the horizon.

Now that all my overused adjectives and references are out of the way, how about some facts: Murray is a Boston-based drone generator who's been spewing out well-considered noise since about 1998, and releasing it since 2001. Wonders Never Cease is about his 9th or so record, and it was made out of live stuff he recorded at shows in New York and New England. Generally I think the re-working of live material is a much better idea than the putting it out flatly as-is, and this record will from now one be my exhibit #1. Murray keeps enough of the live ambience and impulsiveness in to give his pieces a kinda 3-D reality without the dryness of over-thought, yet does enough reworking and manipulating to make real compositions out of what might have otherwise been uneven peak/valley exercises. Not that I don't love valleys, but Wonders Never Cease manages to make everything peak and still let it all breathe and develop and actually exist, which is why it's blown me away each of the 15 or so times I've listened to it in the past 2 days.

Clearly my brain has lost its ability to do anything but drool in front of this great record, so I implore you to rid yourself of my ramblings and check out "Hymn Two" (linked below), a nice little stretch of chunky, teeth-breaking noise that slowly melts into a windy blast of cold sonic air...then audit some other excerpts on his myspace page...and then order all of Brendan's stuff immediately...

BRENDAN MURRAY - "Hymn Two" from Wonders Never Cease


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