AMN Reviews

AMN Reviews: Phil Maguire – Zeeschuim (Cloudchamber Recordings)

With Zeeschuim, Phil Maguire, a resident of County Cork who “makes sounds with computers” offers a kind of absolute minimalism – pure drone, Platonic drone, drone huge as the sea and profound as your thoughts. This austere, long form piece is meant to pair with his previous Zeemijl to create twin “sonic sculptures of the North Sea and the Irish Sea,” he writes. Now “minimal” in no wise means uneventful; as with the sea itself, there is plenty happening both deep inside it and skimming its surface. Maguire’s drone, within its very strict parameters, dives, soars and wobbles. And the currents evoked by him may well also transport listeners elsewhere. A drone as single-minded as this, not unlike the white-on-white paintings of Robert Rauschenberg, can change with each listen, depending on you the listener and the place you listen to it. Its oscillations leave room for the brain to interpret what the ear hears and what it thinks it hears. One moment suspended in its depths feels enclosed and enwrapped; another – open big as the sky.

Stephen Fruitman