MYSTERY SEA 27 | Paul Bradley | [Sophia Drifts]


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-" 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


UK 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 dimension...
The one of total sharpness...


01. Sophia Drifts




VITAL WEEKLY 496|Frans De Waard
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).
Such 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

assured 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.
vital weekly

Touching Extremes |Massimo Ricci
Existing 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.
touching extremes

CHAIN D.L.K.|Eugenio Maggi
Rated : 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.

MOUVEMENT NOUVEAU|Tobias Fischer  --- 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.
mouvement nouveau

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