Boomkat Product Review:
Two years in the pipeline for Home Normal, Elian's 'Whispers, Then Silence' is a long-overdue work from composer/producer Michael Duane Ferrell. Apparently the album had been consigned to a state of release schedule limbo, as the folks at the label themselves say: "it's taken a while to get together, tweak and time right for the arc of Home Normal". You can immediately hear why Ian Hawgood and co. have been saving this one up. While prior releases in the label's catalogue have converged on a predominantly pastoral-ambient agenda, this recording is a far more ambitiously ambiguous affair, perhaps having more in common with the sort of output we've been hearing from the Helen Scarsdale Agency (whose digital catalogue recently came our way). This is especially true of 'The Happy Cynicism Of A Creative Mind', one of the key tracks here, which explores peculiar sub-harmonics, crunchy electronic processing and a final, field-recorded environmental crackle. This abstract acousmatic flow is pleasingly devoid of a specific 'mood' or any sense of atmosphere-shaping awareness, and something similar can be said of the patient drone-based closer, 'Lesson In Never Again'. It's worth giving the introductory, quarter-hour title-track a mention too; after a few moments of almost infra-sonic bass emissions, the piece sets about integrating looped vibraphone phrases and digitised static manipulations into its meandering structure, eventually settling on a repeating, muffled organ chord for its denouement. A very strong offering from Ferrell, and one that would seem to mark a refreshed perspective on the ambient genre for Home Normal and its future releases. Recommended.