Saturday, May 9, 2009

Sean McCann - Haven (Holy Cheever Church Records CS)

So I know Sean McCann has been getting a lot of press around these parts of late (the guy has been extremely busy it seems), but when I got this number in the mail today from Chris Riggs and his Holy Cheever operation, I threw it on right quick and, about 50 minutes into its 70-plus minute length I couldn't help but write about it. To be honest, I was a little surprised when I saw Riggs was putting out a McCann tape, as Riggs tends to go toward the lower case improv/noise stuff way more than the squishy synth work that McCann's been releasing of late. But of course though, had I forgotten so soon? McCann is equally adept at long form post-classical, post-rock, post-composition string movements a la Midnight Orchard, and this is just such the case. Which makes perfect sense in my book.

Talking about this thing with any detail is nearly impossible of course, as the two 35-minute sides each exhibit much the same feel and approach, with richly layered string work ebbing back and forth as naturally as blood in veins--two steps forward, one step back, one step forward, two steps back. The first side belongs to "Haven" parts one through three, and each movement is as still and gracious as the last. Great to hear someone going for it here and really extending his stuff into the endless, drifting along with no preferred arrival point, no egotistic gestures of self congratulation, no righteous nods to anything other than the music, at this time, in this place. It's as washed out and wonderful as music can be.

The B side is another single work, "Dreaming for Years," whose tectonically patient string loops go on and on, building mountains and eroding them again. There's a maturity here in McCann's allowance of the sound to just be as it will be and do as it will do, and it becomes increasingly difficult to tell if you are simply hearing the same loop over and over or if this is live and ever changing, no matter how minutely. Seems likely that McCann's ust letting your mind change while the music remains constant, but who knows. No matter. This stuff is stiller than Arvo Part, more minimal than La Monte Young, and more beautiful than Messiaen. Astounding, and perfectly suited to the Holy Cheever way. Which is a way highly deserving of some serious attention. Hopefully this tape will open up some ears to the rest of the catalog, because there are few other places where experimental music is being practiced to such a high degree so consistently. More on the way form the new batch of Holy Cheever shortly for sure. Oh, and the tape is limited to 70, which for McCann is fairly small, so head over to Holy Cheever HQ if you want one. They're still available, but I doubt for long.

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