Ian William McArthur

My first experience of Ian William McArthur was of some of his earlier field recordings featuring the transfixing sounds of Buddhist chanting and another of birdsong, which actually feel like the logical precursors to McArthur’s latest album Black Cell -  an evocative soundscape encapsulating for me the pulsating vicissitudes of life. The recordings start with Datawar-Leak, a resonant dripping sound punctuated by an insistent beat, that builds to something more sinister (it’s the sound of code leaking) and it enters my consciousness, like a very small animal persistently burrowing or pecking inside my head. I love the way it tails off and how it is reprised in Leak part two, which brings the album to its conclusion and is built on bits of code from aiffhead's trippy Drone Code edit of Zombie Synth.

One of my favourite tracks is Children of the Revolution. Not the T-Rex classic but a mesmeric track featuring religious chanting (but it could easily be something else). As someone who loves the sounds of prayer, I’m captivated by Children of the Revolution with its echo-y atmospheric mood, as if IWM had taken his equipment and buried it between the walls of the Abu Dabi mosque (where he recorded the sound) and the street outside. Another stand out recording on the album is Hker aiffhead basically, the aiffhead remix of HKERR, Guangzhou underground electronica and noise artist, a freaky piece with sinister voices, and a pulsing, raking beat that gets under your skin. It’s like your brain was made of industrial machinery and you could hear its workings. 

There’s plenty of invention here to make this an impressive collection and I look forward to hearing more from this artist in the future. 

 

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