Sunday, November 9, 2008

Sean McCann – Gall Flood [No Label]

This tape showed up mysteriously in my mailbox quite a while back. No note or anything. It turned out to be a great surprise and Mr. McCann can certainly feel free to send me tapes unannounced any time it strikes his fancy.
This cassette is basically an hour of swimming through sound. There are no track titles and the sides aren’t labeled either (except for a butterfly sticker on the A-side). This makes it difficult to really present an organized review so I’m just gonna go for it, play the tape and write/describe whatever I can through it’s duration.
The beginning of the first side has a wondrous groove. Simple percussion and looped vocal and keyboard or flute. There’s analog fuckery occasionally but none of it can stop the effortless breezy groove. There’s kind of a hand drum solo thing and then a piece pops up with a loping drum beat and squiggly effects laden vocals. It’s cut from the same cloth as the first chunk of sound which is probably why every piece is all mashed together rather than listed as tracks or something. Next bit has a very faraway sound; looped drum and vocals but with an extra dose of hypnosis and probably recorded by a fire in a cave somewhere. Then there’s a tape fuck up and a new piece with a looser vibe rambles along taking a moment to cast its spell. But it does, and the less ardent repetition is a nice contrast. I really dig the free jazz flute or keys or whatever it is bleating the occasional skronky bursts. Without a break the piece extends into a totally lo-key but jamming’ piece with twinkling keyboard, “aww-ohh” vocals and live hand drumming. Even when the drumming gets fast and intense and some weird pitch-fucked vocals come in the tape stays in total free float. A testament to the zoner conjuring these sounds. There’s lots more great stuff on this side; all of it similar, all of it good. Some stretches get more aggressive; though keep in mind that’s relative, which work well. Unannounced the side wraps with a few seconds of chimes.
The B-side continues along the same path but more distorted and skewed. McCann is filling the space a bit more and the pieces seem more extended than the previous side. I find myself getting lost in the sounds and forgetting to write. McCann surfs the cosmos a bit with a synth soaring low over shuffling drums and echoing vowels. The thing that impresses/surprises me about this tape is that McCann works with a pretty small palette but even over an hour it doesn’t really wear out its welcome. Even by the end of tape my head is still nodding and my foot is still tapping to the mellow pulse. The ending, in it's shimmering goodness, is among the prettiest moments on the record. It’s an infinite, endless jammer.
Comes with sandblasted artwork of super imposed somethings and an insert. All gone according to McCann’s myspace but it looks like he’s been sending his mysterious tapes to the right kinds of people cause he has a DVD, a bunch of releases on Sound Holes, Cloud Valley, Offices of Moore & Moore and others currently as well as self-released stuff as well as tapes on DNT, Digitalis, Peasant Magik and Softland City in the works. Shit, I get tired just listing all those, can’t imagine the gallons of sweat that went into making them.

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