Boomkat Product Review:
Timely reminder and primer of sorts for Sean McCann, the influential LA-based composer whose oeuvre and curation of Recital (Sarah Davachi, Ian William Craig, Daniel Schmidt) have done much to help shape the boundaries of avant-garde music over the decade since these recordings were made.
‘Ten Impressions for Piano and Strings Recital’ holds 10 pieces dating back to 2010, when McCann moved to a new city and began realising a transition from classical to avant-garde spheres that has captivated keener listeners over the past decade. His work as a solo composer and collaborator has bloomed over this time in tandem with his exquisite programming of the Recital label - behind definitive modern classics by Sarah Davachi and stunning archival reissues from Daniel Schmidt, RIP Hayman and Charlie Morrow - and has come to bridge myriad musical worlds that we love, while also introducing us to many more, so it’s surely a good time to get acquainted or rake back over his earlier work.
In Sean’s own words: “Ten Impressions dates from the fall of 2010, when I moved from San Francisco to Los Angeles. I was contemplating starting Recital at this time, envisioning the first release to be a double-LP of my ambient, slow works. Amassing violin and piano fragments over the next months, I ended up with over 4 hours of recorded material. Well, then… I sat and looked at the files on my computer and lost all interest. An odd gapping period overtook me and I stopped working on music. Twiddling my time, my listening interest in classical and art-y avant grade music flourished.”
The 10 pieces are what he imagined as his “last ‘ambient’ record for the foreseeable future” in 2015, and find him clearly nodding to Eno/Budd in a heavy-lidded, oneiric style that he has both sharpened up and opened out since then. Make sure to check his elegiac mix of raga-esque strings and billowing choral pads with strangely possessed spirits in ‘Sense of Life’ and ‘Language of Night’, and the way the ambience of ‘Vacant Plaza’ takes on an uncanny resonance in 2020.