Darren McClure: Softened Edges
The Land Of

Originally from Northern Ireland and now living in Matsumoto, Japan, Darren McClure constructs the nine soundscapes on Softened Edges from field recordings—sometimes radically processed and sometimes untreated—and software-generated sounds. The material is evocative, regardless of whether the source material is identifiable or not. Though “Let Your Eyes Go” is assembled from heavily-treated sounds, its atmospheric drones and melodic fragments convincingly suggest the shimmer and sparkle of a still pond on a summer afternoon; “Distance,” on the other hand, is a purer field exercise with thunderstorms, pelting rain, bird chirps, and car noises cohering into a directly referential collage.

Sonically, the material offers up no shortage of beguiling chatter and ripple. In “St Fence,” gleaming organ tones and repetitive motifs produce a glassy façade, while “Kg Court” is characterized by gently tolling bells, fluttering electronics, and churning rhythms. There's a microsound, 12k-styled feel to the material with McClure obsessively focusing on minute elements, structures, and rhythms. “Lab Pin” is a particularly lovely setting of becalmed tones, tinkles, and vaporous drift where softly rising melodies buried within the clouds are so quiet they're almost inaudible. Needless to say, Softened Edges proves most rewarding when broached as ‘headphones listening.'

December 2007