Agitated Atmosphere: Sean McCann – Fountains

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 pull back the curtain on a wealth of sights and sound from luminaries such as Sean McCann.

Sean McCann is no stranger to Agitated Atmosphere, as his DVD release Coppicing was discussed last year. Notable to that review was the idea of McCann’s presence; he is a musician first and foremost, creating a bevy of top drawer releases for any label ready to assume the crown as a champion of McCann.

After falling dormant for much of the year, McCann has breathed new life into his Roll Over Rover label as evident by two new batches of material from the minds of McCann and his musical brethren. Behind the curtain of ROR, McCann has devised many experiments, most recently toying with variations in mountain music (violin, viola, and saxophone). With Fountains, however, McCann returns to his ambient roots. Not far removed from the piercing tranquility of Coppicing, Fountains is a product of keen perception and skilled craftsmanship. Piece by piece, McCann builds a idyllic landscape out of found and created sounds: ripples of water babbling beneath the hum of distant machinery coming inching closer to shore; the contempt of a nighttime drive through the summer-drenched country; the rush of crowds running from one objective to another with little regard to the world around them.

Listen to “The Tumblers”:

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As tiresome a cliché as it presents, Fountains is the fundamental root of all things beautiful in the world being transformed into sound. It goes beyond a simple metaphor, for McCann possesses the ability to capture these easily recalled events into epic poetry. That McCann is able to maintain such tenacity in the face off 90 minutes of music (not to mention a stack of releases delving into similar veins) is a testament to his talent. As he continues to grow as a musician, exploring any sound variant that strikes a match, it’s a unique case study in and of itself how McCann effortlessly taps into these opposite ideals and transforms them into coherent, beautiful, and interesting compositions. Fountains is an encyclopedia’s worth of ambient musings and that each thought eases into the next despite stark differences in approach produces an album always ready to surprise. If you can’t find the time to enjoy the boundless beauty and decadent despair of everyday life, allow Fountains to help you find the time.

Justin Spicer is a freelance journalist who also maintains the webzine, Electronic Voice Phenomenon. He writes the Monday News Mash-Up for the KEXP Blog. You may follow him on Twitter.

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