If paired differently, the names of artist and album would make more sense: “Seagull Sunrise” and “The Industry of Software.” The fact that Chris Perren mixes them up is a sign that the album is a hybrid. (We also doubt we’d review an album called Seagull Sunrise.)
The seven pieces on this album began as fragments: instrumental improvisations and dialogue from old, spliced tapes. The press release references The Books, but Software of Seagulls is less abstract; Perren’s post-rock leanings put him somewhere between The Books and Lemon Jelly. These are most apparent on the title track, which features acoustic guitar in the foreground, electric guitars in the background, a web of electronic manipulations and a few bright sentences. Sunrise Industry is a happy album, as happy as golf (see the video below), relaxed enough to wear plaid pants and good enough to get away with it.
When one hears the violin or rhythm section, one thinks of a live band rather than a series of pre-recorded snippets. Perren’s strength is to weave disparate elements into a pleasing tapestry. Many people think about doing such a thing: I like the bassline, but not the words; I like the bridge, but not the chorus. Thanks to his software, Perren is able to extract the best segments of his donated samples. His work is akin to that of a collector whose works are selected for display; presentation is key.
While at times the album wanders into drone (“Carve Silence Into Me”) or even modern composition (“Redundant Array of Independent Worlds”) Sunrise Industry is most successful when it throws open the windows to spring. “And Yet Dreams” possesses the ebullience of Public Service Broadcasting’s “New Dimensions in Sound”, thanks to its upbeat tempo and hopeful samples: “Tomorrow will be as happy as new … what’s next?” It’s a reminder of the optimism of the 80s, when so much music was shiny and new, although the sample stems from an earlier era of optimism. Perren weaves the music around the words, lending it the starry-eyed nature of an early World’s Fair. The same holds true for the fantasy-tinged “2AM Jungle Gym”, built around soft piano and a child’s exclamation, “Wonderful … the whole town to ourselves!” We hope that Perren will continue in this direction; we receive a lot of music that focuses on nostalgia, but far too little that embraces joy. (Richard Allen)