Artist: Jonathan Benham & Christopher McFall
Title: For Wings That Seldom Sleep
Catalog Number: and.p31
Release Year: 2008
Format: MP3
Status: Available

Track List:
01. For Wings That Seldom Sleep 1
02.
For Wings That Seldom Sleep 2
03.
For Wings That Seldom Sleep 3
04.
For Wings That Seldom Sleep 4

Download all tracks at once
"The four parts of this tempestuous nocturnal journey, take us through rain
soaked labyrinthine streets and alleyways of a shadowy metropolis
reminiscent of the film "Blade Runner" or a much smaller and strange
decrepit one conjured up by the Brothers Quay. Either way, the work sounds
as if we were listening to this particular world from a very small perspective
of a fly or a moth. The fourth part of this work ends in such a way that doesn't
provide a sense of completion, but leaves the listener wanting the journey to
continue." (DL - and/OAR)

Most of Jonathan Benham's sound sources were digitally recorded, but in a
few instances analog tape was used. He employs a variety of recording
techniques and utilizes standard microphones, his own custom built contact
microphones, as well as a device he made to capture the otherwise unheard
electromagnetic frequencies which are ever present in our environment.
Often, he effects and alters sound produced within a physical environment
during the recording process by funneling it through different devices he has
designed and built. Jonathan creates experimental musical instruments and
other sound generating devices that are often used in his recordings. Some
of the sound sources in this latest collaboration with Christopher McFall
feature a number of these devices as they directly interact with wind, rain and
sleet in their natural environments.

Christopher McFall is a sound artist working out of Kansas City, USA. His
primary methods of working involve the use of computer-based
programming techniques, which are applied to art of processing sounds
from treated analog field recordings and then re-combining them in a
multitrack format. The main motivation behind Christopher's workings
revolve around the desire to manipulate/engineer recorded aspects of the
macroscopic world around him into composite sound-based musical
compositions.  Christopher McFall has released work previously online with
Con-v, Filament Recordings, Laboratoire Moderne, Alg-a and Testube. His
CD debut 'Four Feels for Fire' was released on Entr'acte in the fall of 2007.
Vital Weekly  (March 2008)
Last year Christopher McFall made his debut in Vital Weekly through his
nice, but not entirely original CD for Entr'acte (see Vital Weekly 599) and here
returns with a collaboration with one Jonathan Benham. He provided McFall
with some of the sounds used on this recording, which deal with field
recordings, including electro-magnetic frequencies - the sort of hard to hear
sounds from anything that works on electricity. Sometimes he manipulates
the sounds while recording them. McFall processes these sounds no longer
in real time, but works on them through the use of the computer. Layered,
changed, combining, re-mixing that is the sort of work he employs. The four
pieces here, spanning about thirty minutes, are quite nice. Even when not
entirely original in the world of microsound/glitch/field recordings, there is a
good sense of tension in these recordings. McFall uses a bit more reverb (or
perhaps added by Benham already) to give a creepy undercurrent to the
material at hand. It could be the soundtrack to a scary movie dealing with
metallic monsters rising from the earth and coming to live in a rusty scenery.
Very nicely executed, can't wait to see things moving here.  (Frans De Waard)
Earlabs  (March 2008)
The cover art (downloadable PDF booklet based on a beautiful intaglio print
by Jonathan Benham) for For Wings That Seldom Sleep is definitely
suggestive as it depicts the scaled, membranous wings of cicada in various
orientations against a grainy background of soft hues. Recognized for their
greatly amplified late afternoon and early evening "singing", these natural
noisemakers serve as an appropriate aural metaphor of the sonic flavor on
this album and bring a soupcon of pathos it.

For Wings That Seldom Sleep contains four compositions ranging in length
from just over five minutes to almost eleven minutes delivering just about
thirty-three minutes of compelling listening. In this joint effort, Jonathan
supplied the recordings and Christopher did the post -recording consisting
of selecting, assembling, and editing/processing this material into the
present work. Source sounds were recorded on a digital recorder using
various microphones and, in some instances, old analogue tape recordings
going back to the 1980's were used. Christopher was very selective in the
sound segments that he used and the processing and effects used were
minimal. One conventional technique common to classical music used in
composing these pieces was that of repetition/reiteration. For example, at
the very beginning of For Wings That Seldom Sleep 1 you'll hear traffic
sounds (contact microphone recording of a bridge which I was beneath it).
That same "sound image" (as Jonathan refers to it) is used several time
within the composition and you'll hear it again towards the conclusion. It's
this technique coupled with others that help tie together incongruent parts
and unify the individual movements.

Although the individual segments share mutual source sounds and similar
production/design, each composition has distinct nuances that allows it to
stand on its own allowing for four different sound stories revolving around a
common theme. It might be the agitated, cacophonous gristle of layered
noises on For Wings That Seldom Sleep 1 or the dense, steadily building
tempest of sound on For Wings That Seldom Sleep 2 that dissolves into a
hazy blanket of effervescence. It could be the initial segment of deep
percussive resonations and moans on For Wings That Seldom Sleep 3 or
the brief interlude of watery sounding echoes and metallic noise on For
Wings That Seldom Sleep 4.

The strongest feature of For Wings That Seldom Sleep is revealed in
Christopher's now well-known proclivity for taking indigenous field
recordings and processing them into new amalgamations of music and how
this is combined with Jonathan's expertise at collecting sounds and editing /
flavoring them with his own custom built devices. The end result is a very
convincing album of modern-day, digitally processed Musique Concrète
merging the skills of two contemporary sound artists. Taken as a whole, I'll
describe the general ambiance of the album as "weathered" and
"urbanized". Urban-based field recordings and manufactured sounds are
combined with recordings of various weather phenomenon (rain, sleet, ice,
snow, wind) and collected electromagnetic frequencies. The sounds are
then either processed by means of various audio editing software or through
direct interaction with Jonathan's experimental sound manufacturing
instruments.

An excellent digital MP3 release from and/OAR and a top-notch collaboration
between two collectors and sculptor's of sound whose hearts are clearly in
their work. A not-to-miss album for anyone who enjoys experimental sound
art. (Larry Johnson)