We Share A Shadow
CD HMS 011
Strive for the authentic, the real. That's the typical ideology behind field recordings and sound colleges. As art, they're more like a photograph or interview, a document of what is already there. Murmer takes a different approach. The group [sic. Mumer is but one individual named Patrick McGingley -- ed.] uses found sounds to invent brand new landscapes instead of recording a pre-existing one.
In a record store version of the universe, the natural sounds are catalogued somewhere between smooth jazz and Native American drumming. Their stated purpose is relaxation, to sublimate the mind to into catatonic receptiveness. This notion of nature as a sedative is misleading. Without sting of a winter breeze, or the weight of the summer sun, these recordings are fables of what nature really is. We Share a Shadow is not an exercise in soothing escapism. The effect is more visceral. Using field recordings captured one locations in Europe and North America, Murmer combines them seamlessly. Whatever context the sounds orignally had is not buried an atmosphere of pure gloom. The bellowing horns and jangling cowbells on the first track may be unrelated to the rainstorm that they emerge from, but together they harmonize to invoke primordial night. One the second track, insects, piano, and metallic scrapes merge together, sounding like a decrepit factory come shuddering back to life.
By avoiding the literalist conventions of the genre, Murmer is free to explore emotional impact that sound has on us. The control of mood on the album is almost musical, and much more nuanced than its isolated components. -- Matthew Spencer