Dirch Blewn ~ Condensations & Fusings

When David Bloor’s father died suddenly, the tricky process of mourning began.  A musician growing up in a house without musical instruments, Bloor (known here as Dirch Blewn) set about collecting mementos of his dad’s life, including an unused mouth organ.  In his hands, the mouth organ finds new life, as do the landscapes of locations near and far.  One can hear the struggle in these sounds, as well as the curiosity. Can a life, and its aftermath, be summed up through a recording that progresses gently from abstraction to form?  Can thoughts be condensed and fused?  As much as the artist may insist his sonic activities are unrelated, they are bound together by a mindset of loss and reorganization.

“Cyclical impuse circuitry & slow swimming dogs” is quite a descriptive title, but the piece sounds more like ping pong balls and dial-up computers.  The ear can’t hear the reality of volcanic stones moved on an Icelandic beach.  The railing, tube and passersby of the following piece are more easily identifiable.  The album’s first melody emerges.  Solace is found in travel and aural memory.  Bloor will continue to travel, recording seed heads, drying seaweed and walnuts, adding electronic processing along the way.  But as far as he may travel, he cannot escape his inner thoughts.

Somewhat morbidly, the instruments listed include “dead Dads wind chimes, dead dads garden sculpture (and) dead dads harmonica (sic).”  The artist isn’t trying to escape the ghost; he’s bringing the ghost with him, bound in objects, and trying to figure it out; or at least, how to make peace.  The wind chimes sound like a ferry crossing, the ferryman’s hand outstretched.  By “Rotational Orbit Spin,” the electroacoustic recording has grown dense with drone, walnuts falling like rain.

As implied by Sean Curtis Patrick’s cover linocut, the presence of water is inescapable, bearing the symbolism of passage.  A secondary theme is carried from chime to garden sculpture to gong.    By “A Hole in the Ground by the Sea,” the reverent, measured tempo suggests a Buddhist procession.  Disorganized thoughts and objects have found new order, discarded instruments new life.  Soon something has changed in the mourner, and by extension, in the listener as well.  We continue to carry our loved ones with us via totem and thought; the stream of time may bear them away, but the river of memory brings them back.  (Richard Allen)

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