As major labels continue to exist behind the times, artists and labels with little capital and lesser reputations are producing some of the most innovative, interesting, and inspiring music. Whether it’s creating a new niche in digital technology or looking to once obsolete formats, Agitated Atmosphere hopes to shed a bit of light and share a bit of information on the up and coming sounds of artists such as Sean McCann.
Sean McCann will never be a household name for most but there’s a growing contingent of music aficionados who are growing ever-more enamored with the work McCann proliferates. Be it from the many DIY and boutique labels that spread his cassettes and CD-Rs like rose pedals on a honeymoon bed or the calmer variety of releases from McCann’s own Roll Over Rover label, there’s no dearth of McCann ingenuity to go around.
Now McCann is taking his art to the next level. Going beyond the many musical mediums that gladly populate a growing number of collections, McCann has now added video to his mixed formats on Coppicing, release via his Bay Area-based label. The DVD is twenty minutes of vast coniferous landscapes as viewed through the psychedelic prism. Layer upon layer of forest green is blanketed with dark hues of green, red, purple, and blue as McCann’s achingly somber drone provides the mellow soundtrack. The true beauty is in the idea of coppicing as a musical and visual practice and not just a study on the act of coppicing in the physical realm. McCann’s piece cuts to the stump of musical exploration, leaving nothing but a barren and flat plane of bark and pulp in its place before McCann begins to metaphorically sprout shoots of subtlety within his monochromatic melody. Creaks, scratches, and distant knocks take root in the fertile, and seemingly plain, soil. Coppicing isn’t just a reference to the lucid visual fodder on the DVD but the music with which McCann surrounds the display. The idea of destruction is loud and painful but Coppicing presents the idea of life anew; raised from what is perceived as dead. It’s this ideology that fuels much of Sean McCann’s artistry, be it of music, film, or local access television. Beauty is all around us and Coppicing is the plastic bag caught in the billowing wind.
Justin Spicer is a freelance journalist who also runs the webzine, Electronic Voice Phenomenon. He writes the Monday News Mash-Up and Thursday edition of Song of the Day for the KEXP Blog. You may follow him on Twitter.