MYSTERY SEA 57 | James
McDougall | [Dispossession of Periphery]
Heaped upon the voices’ frail back did addle heavy a monotonic
barbs of blackheart stasis
bleat harried down through steeps
And steeped in
seep stark tendrils deep
Into prying sight
from a complacent null offing
Any more than
done with the din and thrum
blightly mimetic scoffing?
No words soon
throwing no shadow
Now arcing up
upon light’s tacit swell, rinsing soot from a headlong prow
James McDougall, January 2009
numerous releases (Test Tube, U-Cover, Dataobscura, Resting Bell, Sentient
Recognition Archive, SEM...) both on real and netlabels under the ENTIA
NON moniker, offering up multi-dimensional ambient aural vignettes,
Australian artist, James McDougall uses now his own
name for asserting his yet deeper organic excursions (Compost &
Height, Q-tone, Mandorla...). As such, he has accustomed us to vivacious
& extremely detailed sonic microworlds & sparkling soundscapes...
Assembling meticulously magnetizing field recordings, found sounds &
other fluctuating ingredients into natural new aura-esque sound entities,
he succeeds in forging a well as constant source of amazement... Those
recreated environments speak clearly further, owning an unutterable
beauty, but most of all, they possess a strong power of evocation, a
His MS manifesto could well be his magnum opus to date...
In full deliquescence, elements disintegrate
corroded through the night...
Bubbling under, a myriad of stars,
and as many tiny resonances & chisellings
conjure up a world of boundless possibilities...
An ear to the ground, in the air, within the stream,
auscultating the very heart of the matter...
Everything is abrasion, passage of time
of Periphery" blows out the sidelights
encouraging a deep sinking,
a tactile ceremony from which one can only come out grown in wisdom,
and expanded in perception...
01. giant empty
02. porcelain hull
03. of childhood din
04. pallid lantern
05. a clearer firmamental blue
VITAL WEEKLY 711|Frans
One of the rising stars of field recordings
and microsound is James McDougall. He has already quite
a number of releases, under the guise of Entia Non, on labels such as
Test Tube, U-Cover, Dataobscura, Resting Bell, and then also under his
own name on labels as Compost And Height, Q-tone and recently Ripples.
He searches for the most rusty form of field recordings. Either he finds
them in the field, or he treats them to sound rusty. I don't know. I
do know its hard to tell, but it leads to some great results. Everything
is pitched down to the darkest of dark, with all the bass frequencies
up front. The 'sea' element that is common with a lot of the releases
on Mystery Sea, isn't that much present on this one, although, perhaps,
it all sounds a bit sub-aquatic, like being recorded 'under the surface
of the water', but without any sea or rain sounds. Scratching the surface
of the sea, rather than being part of the CD, I'd say. 'A Clearer Firmamental
Blue', the closing piece, has a faint trace of a melody, which is a
nice feature - and uncommon for many of the Mystery Sea releases. Excellent
A welcome return to WWR for Australian McDougall
whose previous appearance had been under his Entia Non pseudonym.
On that occasion he was laying down a tortuously labyrinthine set of
processed field recordings. It was as punishingly intense and
unforgiving a listen as music can get without degenerating into tedious
noise flailing. This new release on Mystery Sea continues the
themes and strategies laid out in it's forerunner but is a more satisfying
mix of tension, distracting ambiences and immersive sound-wrangling.
Being essentially concrete in nature this isn't going to be everyone's
cup of tea but if the slightly more gravely textures are your bag then
this will be right up your street.
wonderful wooden reasons
WIRE - Issue 317/July 2010 - Outer Limits|Jim
This concoction of processed field
recordings from Australia's James McDougall is spooky
indeed. Industrial rattlings, rusty textures and hisses that seem to
harken from some mechanical breathing apparatus punctuate McDougall's
constant undercurrent of deep, dark ambience. The sound design is dialled
into a psychological horror that seems to split the difference between
the clinical discomfort of Robert Ashley's backing track to "Purposeful
Lady Slow Afternoon" and the ostentatiously morose aesthetics of
Lustmord. The work begins in nature, industry and the boundaries between
; but McDougall is more interested in these sounds
as a hauntological allegory, made especially evident in the sub-aqueous
melodies coming to the surface on the album's final piece, "A Clearer
Australian McDougall is also
active under the Entia Non moniker, but I had never
met his work before listening to this record. It’s a noteworthy
opening encounter, the music repeatedly approaching flawlessness (according
to this writer’s current disposition, and always exclusively concerning
this genre). Like the large majority of the artists working with processed
field recordings and ultra-low frequencies, McDougall did
not invent a new way of doing things. Still, it is much better when
a musician accomplishes an emotionally involving result by utilizing
known means as an adjunct to their personal sensibility than attempting
to astound the audience via techniques, sounds and tricks that might
sound innovative at first, only to reveal an absolute poverty of genuine
compositional ideas. The man handles the classic features of unfathomable
atmospheres that an authentic, insightful critic would call “organic”
– rustling noise, subaqueous shuddering, preternatural reverberations
and (especially) throbbing dilations of rumbling emanations –
within a precise scheme that allows us to forget about what’s
happening around and just enjoy a persuasive cerebral rubdown. Some
of these drones possess a “subterranean choir” quality that
strikes at various levels of depth, “Porcelain Hull” and
“Pallid Lantern” among the favourite episodes in that logic.
The matters coming from the real world are so well masked and employed
that recognizing them is perceived as a pleasure, not an aggravation.
Propagations of vibes that literally ask to be incorporated by our systems,
deployed with artful intelligence.