Sean McCann presents six compositions recorded here and there over the last few years. A Castle Popping is a broad collection, containing tape-manipulated vocalese, digital oboe and solo piano pieces, and a quartet piece. Only 150 copies of this LP, which comes packaged with a detailed booklet and a CDr with a whole extra full-length composition on it!
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- A Castle Popping by Sean McCann
8/10 Robin Staff review, 04 November 2015
Recital is That Label, the one that’s rather magnificent and very capable indeed of putting out albums by sing-song droner Ian William Craig. Among their roster they also count ambient vets Idea Fire Company, pianist Karla Borecky and guitar minimalist Loren Connors, so they should by all rights be a banner experimental label -- especially when you consider that their host with the most is none other than Sean McCann, a prime record masterer who also releases his own drones. Sometimes they’re contemporary, sometimes they’re hyperreal, but they’re always off that track that’s beaten.
‘A Castle Popping’ follows up the naturalistic and oftentimes fantastical orchestral arrangements of ‘Music for Private Ensemble’, as well as the droning fog of ‘Ten Impressions for Piano & Strings’; here, instead of pursuing a particular atmospheric narrative, McCann fucks shit up, banishing himself to the rabbit-hole for a record of disjointed tape manipulations and fatigued field recordings. It opens with “Eleven Nights in Spain”, a warbling mess of grumbling and squeaking sounds chomping on one another; the piece’s second suite eventually meets with some of McCann’s laissez-faire piano playing, in which he restrains from melodies and instead conjoins fragmented chords. All the time he retains the scratchy, weird sounds the track’s grown from, suggesting the kind of pungent pastorality of Dolphins Into The Future.
On the flip, McCann offers something closer to serenity, a live performance of “Victorian Wind” drifting between strings, brass and piano, as if each are slow-dancing on stage at the ballet. The two home recordings that close out the record feel suitably relaxed, like ominous lounge compositions; piano flickers as the recording process forces crackles and fractures. McCann has one of the most versatile creative palettes out there, so do yourself a solid and stick around for the bonus CD of compositional content!
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