Anna Murray - Rndr II

Anna Murray - Rndr II

5
Wednesday, 15 January 2020 (All day)

Rndr II is Anna Murray's second album, and the follow-up to her Rndr of 2013.

Its four tracks are recorded improvisations based on samples of sounds ranging from field recordings to early gramophone recordings and instruments.

The album captures the sonic impression of life in Tokyo, where Irish composer Murray has recently moved as a MEXT Research Scholar. The album explores the tensions between city noise and quiet spaces, and between reserve and obsession, and observes how the most modern city in the world attempts to presever its old traditions.

Website

Comments

James Camien Mc...
5
Quiet and subtle observations

Why I gave the above rating: 

Murray calls this new album 'ambient,' but forty-five seconds into the opening track, the music abruptly stops. Not that it was strident beforehand, but the sudden silence nonetheless calls your attention, so it is certainly not background music. It is, though, very subtle music, and almost every sound seems sotto voce - or perhaps a better term is 'distant,' as this is thoroughly spatial music, and its component sounds, though manipulated and abstracted from their source field recordings, are nevertheless concrete enough to make you feel that you are in a real, if dreamlike, space. It is ambient not so much in the sense that it could unobtrusively fill a space as that it creates a space.

The space is a welcoming if eerie one. Murray uses (as far as my ears can discern) a lot of samples from gongs and bells. These are processed electronically, often impossibly elongated, but they still give the music a wonderful richness: there is a warmness to it; it ensconces you. Not that the music is without a sharper edge; the gong-like sounds are contrasted with buzzing machinery sounds; 'Rndr8 (Shuddering)' in particular sits in this unsettling soundscape.

This track also has something like the climax of the album, although it is unhurried. I'm not sure it was the climax the album needed, but then I'm not sure that it needed any climax: Murray's ability to conjure full, curious, and enthralling sounds is marvellous, and I could very easily walk amongst its looming but somehow reassuring shadowy structures for far longer.

Jan 24, 2020
 

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