Murmer

.murmer

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This is a beautiful album of experimental ambient electronica, gorgeous yet minimal. As Murmer, Patrick McGinley records the sounds of household appliances like refrigerators and gas grills, along with other machines that fill our lives with their buzzes and hums even though we don't notice them anymore. He treats these sources, looping them and putting them through various means of digital decay, to create lulling pieces that work on two levels: as music for the attentive listener and as wallpaper music. Used for the latter purpose, it goes back to the semiconscious state of awareness its sources were stripped out of. Murmer's idea is not revolutionary. Other artists like Michael Prime (on Domestic Science) and Philippe Blanchard (on Play: Lunch) have done it before, but they approached the subject mainly from an electro-acoustic side. Murmer's clear microsound electronica stance brings in something new. The opening track is the longest at 26 minutes. Paradoxically, it is the only one using an annoying daily sound instead of something lurking in the background of our lives: modem noises. The artist manages to turn what could have been a horrendous cliché into a surprisingly smooth ride. ".meurm" (refrigerator and gas grill) and ".mmeru" (air vents and windows) provide the best moments. Sometimes the pieces go through weak structural moments, but in general the artist keeps things interesting and easygoing, turning this album into a very nice aural experience.