Patrick McGinley captures the sounds around him and transforms them into surreal compositions where everyday sounds and electronics all become a grand aural illusion. They Were Dreaming They Were Stones is a captivating album structured into a prologue and four parts, but delivered as a continuous work. Phonographies used include a car seat massager, telephone feedback, a gas meter, an elevator shaft, Turkish football victory celebrations, and the Brooklyn Bridge. At times, these elements reveal themselves to you. At others, a certain sound, a phrasing, or a juxtaposition fleetingly evokes an origin, but overall the field recordings are combined in such a way that they create a new reality instead of referring to any pre-existing one. The "Prologue" begins very softly with some delicate telephone feedback and a "thudding" sound. It gains volume with time, drafting in more harmonics as the sound of traffic seeps in, eventually overtaking the piece and climaxing into a disruptive outburst of noise that dispels the preceding buildup. This outburst is the beginning of "Part One," immediately set into place by a regular three-time rhythmic thud. Various sound transformations happen over this mechanical pulse, but the piece remains rather repetitive for the next 12 minutes, representing the album's weak spot. "Parts Two, Three & Four" are lumped into a single index as they segue seamlessly. Here the sound palette is diversified and the artist adopts a more playful attitude (the gradual transformation of the recordings of a marina, the way a ring tone is slowly introduced into these same recordings). This last track, over 40 minutes in duration, is a class act in sound manipulation and auditory mesmerism. Recommended.
AllMusic Review by François Couture