Murmer
We Share A Shadow
CD HMS 011


The Wire

March 2008

     Murmer is the recording name of Patrick McGinley, whose regular Resonance FM show Framework documents his immersion in field recordings. Beautifully presented with handpainted watercolour inserts in an edition of only 300, We Share a Shadow puts this obsession into practice. McGinley's focus is on "activated environments": the drones of air conditioning boxes, the low penetrating vibration of power cables, the thrum of factory production and the rumble of industrial sites. These are sounds we normally discount and subconsciously render inaudible, the unheard elements of everday life. What McGinley does is move them in from the shadows by bringing silence vividly to life.
     The first piece is an extended drone of ringing steel and static crackle. The tone swells glacially as if God's own finger was moving on a singing bowl rim the size of a planet's orbit. The effect is immersive and mesmeric, the soundscape luminous and immobile in the stereo field. Rather than background sounds brought to the foreground, they feel liek th evial hum of the fabric of existence itself microscopically and metaphysically amplified.
     The second piece has more identifiably musical elements. Metallic chimes ring like the clatter of scaffold being assembled, and bursts of static shift from left to right. The elements stack and build into a roiling whole. Again the listener is drawn by the austerity of the elements into deep listening, where every sound pulses with energy and kinetic potential. -- Nick Southgate