Best Albums of 2016 (Part 1)

Simon Cummings, 5:4, December 30, 2016

30. James O’CallaghanEspaces tautologiques

The four works on this fascinating collection from Empreintes DIGITALes vividly demonstrate O’Callaghan’s very physical relationship with found sounds. Isomorphic is a piece concerned with granular materials, whereas in the trilogy comprising Objects-Interiors, Bodies-Soundings and Empties-Impetus, instruments are not simply explored but thoroughly scrutinised, their sonic potential writ large in huge textures seemingly filled with a myriad whirring, clanking and gurgling machines and gizmos. This creates the startling impression that the instruments are organic life forms and we are hearing their internal organs and mechanisms, particularly in Empties-Impetus, where a potent drama emanates from continual alternations between mild and torrential episodes — the former of which become like pausing for breath between punches to the chest.

… a potent drama emanates from continual alternations between mild and torrential episodes…

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