When I listen to ambient, I find that usually I put it on for the reason of not having to pay too much attention to it. Of course, this isn’t always the case, but for workload productivity ambient generally works the best to fill the gap of silence while not degrading the attention I can give to whatever it is that I’m doing. Occasionally interspersed with other records, this week Morwic’s “Sound” was my go-to album for these occasions. I would send this album through the speakers to give me something to occupy my mind in the spaces when it wasn’t occupied with something else. But something strange happened.
I eventually began to notice that I was paying more and more attention to the actual record with each successive play through. Instead of using “Sound” to fill a void in-between thoughts, I began to contemplate on the album itself, devoting the time to it that I would have to any other album. It was then that the 7 track “Sound” became much more than a record of background noise, it was a brilliant exercise in sonic subtlety.
Though absolutely beautiful, it’s hard to sit down and love this album after just one or two listens. This is the kind of music that thrives on being completely present as it grows on you; it is an aural exercise in familiarity breeds affection. So, as the exposure begins to frequent your environment, the individual musical elements take form and grow inside your head, even when you’re not actively listening to the album. “Sound” doesn’t contain formless pieces of music; each song has a definite core structure that the listener can dwell on for the duration.
Tracks like “Dark Times”, McKays Fiber” and “Henna” have a clearly defined structure that relies on a single melody, no matter how feeble it may seem, to progress its way through the track. It is a careful contemplation on the power of repetition of a single idea. The second a motif or idea is finished you find yourself wanting to hear that sound again, and again, and again. That subtlety is really the true power that lies beneath this album.
Nothing about it grabs your attention violently but rather seeps into your mind over time, slowly growing until you can no longer ignore it. Eventually you will being to learn each and every curve of the sounds and the shapes that Morwic as infused into these compositions. It is the hidden beauty that makes affection all the more exciting, and always keeps you coming back for more.
Morwic has created his own personal form of ambience on “Sound” that feels, while based in familiarity, impossibly active and subconscious, each moment presents a subtle directional shift that carries with it a singular design. Morwic, who has been producing music alternately for 35 years, explained that the mixture of ambient layered textures and other organic sounds with a splashes of orchestral elements, was recorded live in one take, and with minimal editing in post-production. “Sound” is his 10th album release.