Nicholas Maloney ~ passage

The exciting word in the press release: hide.  Over the course of two seasons, Nicholas Maloney brought his equipment to the Port of Cork and the Marina Market Warehouse and Commercial Park, recording over a variety of times: day and night, crackling and empty.  Sometimes, to avoid detection and to capture sounds unadorned by human interaction, he had to hide.

The ten-minute opener, “Quiescent,” is the sound of machines waking up.  One imagines visiting a Skynet factory, ducking behind a carton, praying that one will not knock over an incriminating nut or bolt.  Slowly, deliberately, the port is springing into action.  Such a progression sounds like music, blurring the edges of soundscape and composition.

Maloney isn’t just interested in the obvious sounds; as one who hides, he empathizes with those that are hidden.  Few would locate beauty in electrical boxes, but in “Volt,” the artist does exactly that.  Every buzz and hum is precious.  In like manner, he seems to enjoy the empty port as much, if not more than the bustling port.  In such visits, he uncovers a secret world of sounds, trampled in busier months.  When the people return, he retreats to the solitude of vents and fencing, wind and weeds, an eavesdropper recording what lies right in front of him while pining for what lies ahead.

Nature begins to creep in midway through the set, the occasional avian cry a reminder of place.  The patient “Sanctuary” travels in silence before emerging in drone: comforting to Maloney, but perhaps menacing to others.  “Follow” expands upon the spiritual theme with ship bells tolling in place of cathedral bells.  “Eaves” is awash in life, the yin to the mechanical yang, a reawakening before the finale connects the threads into a singular, thriving organism.  The port is more than planks and water, but wildlife and industry, a blend of biophany, geophany and anthropophony whose fibers, once woven, become impossible to extract.  (Richard Allen)

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