Title: Sunrise Industry
Artist: Software of Seagulls
Release Date: 2015 March 16
Genre: Electronic / Post Minimalism
License: CC BY-ND
Label: Feral Media
Software of Seagulls: Sunrise Industry opening track immediately made me think of Northbound: Landscapes of Late, a release that after almost nine years since it first came out I still enjoy listening to. I couldn’t quite place my finger on why I felt there was a connection, but I felt it. And, as it turns out, Chris Perren’s work on this release could be seen as the next step beyond Northbound’s work.
Software of Seagulls: Sunrise Industry
So, to understand why I felt the connection between Northbound and Software of Seagulls, I should explain what Northbound did. I explained originally:
Northbound has taken the time to do something that most artists on the netlabels haven’t: they have taught themselves how to play all of the instruments that they wanted to use in the recording. They taught themselves minimally enough to create samples to use on each of the tracks, and then looped and layered the sounds into sonic portraits that have fresh and unique qualities…
Chris Perren has taken a different approach, but the results have a similar resonance. While studying for a PhD in music composition, he began taking samples from improvised performances, found sounds, and other bits and pieces and assembling them into songs. As a result, the opening track of this release has a very similar feeling to Northbound’s work.
However, Perren goes to the next step in two ways. First, his works don’t have the same looped-and-layered feeling of Northbound. Second, his compositions take on a depth and maturity that Northbound wasn’t able to capture.
Take And Yet Dreams: this track starts off with a sequence of chopped up samples that sound like an organ. But as the piece builds, a full drum kit enters into the piece, and an electric piano forms the harmonic underpinnings of the whole composition. Occasional interjections of phrases interact with the composition itself in a playful manner, helping to push the piece forward.
Also, sometimes the sonic palette of a song might sound like it is completely different from others. Like Carve Silence Into Me. It has a very distorted, harsh sound at first, but still there is some control over the tones being produced. However, when placed next to And Yet Dreams, it becomes somewhat more obvious that there is a relationship between these pieces: they are using similar sonic palettes, however the perspective of these sounds is completely different.
Overall, the affects of this release are still burning in my mind. It’s a real journey to go on, and one that I am extremely happy to have explored. I would talk about more of the pieces on this release, but I want to leave ground for you to explore. There is a lot here, and it is very rewarding.
Chris Perren started Software of Seagulls as a part of his PhD studies in composition. I don’t know what it is about electronic musicians who are doing PhD or Masters studies, but this is the second case (the first was Fingerprint’s Delusions of Graindeur) of me listening to a release from a student that has thrilled and engaged me in ways that other releases haven’t. And, I can only say that I welcome it.