Fergus Kelly: Unnatural Actuality
Baiting The Hook
Grit In The Grease
Null And Void
Recorded in Dublin 2013 - 2014
Composed with field recordings, speaker feedback, no-input mixer, electromagnetic recordings, metal percussion & processing. The field recordings were made in Snaefellsnes in northwest Iceland, Savtat in Croatia, Kent, Berlin and Dublin. The electromagnetic recordings were made from various sources such as computer drives, TV monitors, xbox, wii, ATMs, ticket vending machines, LED displays, smartphone, security barriers, automated advertising hoardings and tramlines. The metal percussion deployed car suspension springs which were struck and bowed, mounted on an aluminium water heater, which acted as resonator.
Brian Olewnick (Just Outside):
"I can't resist quoting Kelly's listing of sound sources used for this release (along with field recordings from various sites): "The electromagnetic recordings were made from various sources such as computer drives, TV monitors, xbox, wii, ATMs, ticket vending machines, LED displays, smartphone, security barriers, automated advertising hoardings and tramlines. The metal percussion deployed car suspension springs which were struck and bowed, mounted on an aluminium water heater, which acted as resonator." Never a bad thing to put remnants of modern consumerism to good use.
The sounds comport well with the cover image, very dark and round. Things thrum and throb, hurling off sizzle and clang, layered and deeply resonant. supremely thick. Sometimes, as in "Spinal Landscape", it's like a thick mass of dozens of huge moths blindly flying in a room of large bells. Rhythms may appear briefly before sinking back into the inky, oily dark; spaces are scoured out, hollowed, left as a dully reverberant shell. The music might be said to vacillate between that dread hollow and an almost claustrophobic, equally alien clutter, something that begins to get oppressive over the disc's nine tracks but given the nature of the sources, I'm not sure that oppression wasn't one of the outcomes Kelly had in mind. More to the point, it's a unique and strong sensibility, one that stands well apart from most quasi-similar efforts int he territory. A strong, bitter work."
Frans De Waard (Vital Weekly):
"It certainly has been a while since I last reviewed something solo by Fergus Kelly; in fact perhaps nothing since 'A Congregation Of Vapours' in Vital Weekly 835. On his latest release he combines field recordings with recordings of electromagnetic origin, such as computer drives, TV monitors, xbox, wii, ATMs, ticket vending machines and such like. Then he also adds metal percussion, like the ones in car suspension springs, which were struck and bowed, mounted on an aluminium water heater, which acts as a resonator. These pieces are constructions as compositions, and not live pieces, improvisations or part of a sound installation; at least as far as I understood this. And these nine pieces are great, if not sometimes a bit long.
The whole album is now just over an hour long, and perhaps could have been a bit shorter, more concise. But overall, Kelly has some great sounds on hand, which he combines very cleverly into fine compositions. There is the falling of metal in the garage in 'Split Second', mixed with sizzling and bursting electrical sounds and some far away rumble. This piece is an example of how things work here: the wide-open space from a field recording, the close by electrical charges of those electromagnetic sounds and the spring metal sounds as a solo voice. Quite atmospheric music is the overall result, with an intense undercurrent. Kelly plays finely with dynamics here, as in an excellent musique concrete tradition. As said, some of the longer pieces here I thought were a bit too long and could be edited down for some more tension and would overall a shorter album would have been stronger. For those who like the work of Francisco Meirino this is something to explore as well."