SEA 27 | Paul Bradley | [Sophia Drifts]
to throw your self out to sea,
to ride the current on a whim.
to watch the wreckage drift,
to finally wash up
on some foreign shore."
Paul Bradley, August 2005
drone breeder & sculptor Paul Bradley has a vast
discography to his credit, both of solo works & symbiotic collaborations
(namely with fellow minds Colin Potter & Darren Tate). Most of these
were issued on his own TWENTY HERTZ imprint, also responsible for the
impressive DRONEWORKS series...
"Sophia Drifts" sees Paul Bradley venturing
further into the territories of subtle mysterious drones & new minimal
sound spheres of aural contemplation...
"Sophia Drifts" is like an audio-metaphor
of gazing at a meticulously arranged eastern garden having in its middle
a quivering silver pool...
Each drop, each grain, each ripple on the surface of water holds an
hidden language, a world of its own, and "Sophia Drifts"
lets it bloom...
"Sophia Drifts" emphasizes the "now",
engulfing you slowly in a motion of interlaced circles...
along its sustained tones, it catches the listener, erasing by small
touches his familiar landmarks to invite him to another rarely experienced
The one of total sharpness...
In a relatively short time, Paul
Bradley has become a household name in the world of drone music,
mainly through the various releases on his own
Twenty Hertz, but also his collaborations with people such as Colin
Potter and Darren Tate (the later being on Plinkity Plonk).
activities don't go unnoticed, and therefore Bradley
is now signed (ho-hum, merely joking here) for an one-off deal with
Mystery Sea - the other mainstay in the world of drone music.
In the past I wrote about his work that it involved a bunch of analogue
synthesizers, but Bradley
me that there is no such thing. Principally he works with field recordings
and computer processing. He could have fooled me.
In 'Sophia Drifts', the material indeed drifts, in
long, slow, majestically moving grace. Deep atmospheric, but there is
half way through the piece the addition some sounds from the higher
frequency range. It's here when the piece comes truly alive in a beautiful
shimmering tones, not unlike the best Organum from his early days. In
terms of new directions in drone music, this is not the place to be,
but in terms of quality in drone music, this is surely one to remember.
Extremes |Massimo Ricci
only in the time span of a long breath, this music by Paul Bradley
comes from nowhere and unveils itself to an astonished auditory, finally
directed to the fringes of environmental modification. Its power of
vibration is revealed by certain frequencies used by Paul, drones so
impressively forceful that your speakers risk being saturated by their
dominion. By now one the leading forces of static music in recent years,
Bradley works with a methodology that's logical yet
absolutely natural, its effects on the psyche sometimes captivating,
more often blood-icing in their embodiment of a remorseless compulsion
towards the darkest corners of mind suspension. Resulting both deeply
emotional and infectiously hypnotizing, "Sophia drifts"
is a fine specimen of Paul Bradley's capabilities and
one of the best Mystery Sea releases.
4 stars out of 5
Hell, reviewing Bradley's
works is seriously beginning to be embarassing. This single-track, forty-minute
work was especially composed for Mystery Sea's cult series, while Bradley
also self-released on his own Twenty Hertz a limited edition including
a bonus 3" cdr. As expected, it's another excellent work for this
English dronemaker, much in the style of recent cds of his like "Liquid
Sunset" or the latest Droneworks contribution. "Sophia
Drifts" is a slowly uncoiling spiral of time-stretched
drones, at first barely punctuated by what sounds like heavily filtered
recordings of dripping water and crashing waves. After a first half
of mind-numbing stasis, the piece undergoes a crescendo of metallic
frequencies and an accumulation of unidentified audio debris, eventually
leading to the final minutes of troubled rest, where ghosts of melodies
surface for a while before disappearing altogether.
--- NEW !
Most of the time, a piece of art will
slowly come into being. Switching over from the world of ideas and from
a state of infiniteness, it will materialise and take a definite shape
in the hands of a painter, sculptor, writer or composer. Sometimes,
however, a piece of music will simply “be” there.
Suddenly a note can be heard, a chord is struck or a sound emerges from
the depths of your PCs memory chips and there
is nothing which needs to be added anymore. That’s what
“Sophia drifts” sounds like. Set out to emphasize the
“now”, this is indeed an album which rests in itself, travelling at
the speed of your watches’s hour hand in slow motion. Yet move it does
and there’s not a moment that goes by without the distinct notion that
time is progressing, both inexorably and compassionately. A darkly shimmering
diamond sun pulsates at the heart of “Sophia”, while a high-frequency
breeze cooling its heated surface. Emenating from the void, it slowly
grows into its destined form and simply continues from there on, merely
allowing in some crackling and fissling as well as some subterranean
water gurgling. Most comparable pieces use volume to create expansion,
but Bradley chooses to explore the concept of thematical
contraction instead – tiny musical motives come up and are unfathomably
sped up. While their cycles become ever more closely intertwined, the
listener’s mind starts to glide frictionlessly, like a silent figure
skater on a moonlit sea in winter. Finally, the piece falls back into
the sea of mystery and myriad opportunities, this time with a sense
of thankful acceptance. Or maybe with an entirely different feeling,
depending on your disposition: What has happened between pushing the
“play” button and the return of the laser to its initial position can
not be described by a summary of its content, nor by the time which
has passed. “Sophia drifts” has become something of
a silent classic, one of those works that you read about empatically
on those tiny, but loveable web spaces, far away from the frenzy of
the magazine market and the daily media. It deserves to be: A whole
life seems to be comprised in this single composition and it takes you
to all the places it has been and to all the faces it has seen. Sometimes
that is all you need to be happy.
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