Even casual students of drone will immediately notice the sonic similarities between The Disintegration Loops, William Basinski’s magnum opus, and Days Blur Together, an expansive 65-minute drone recording from Guelph, Ontario native M. Mucci. These grand compositions share a number of similarities, including an internal rhythmic engine that churns with a breath-like quality and the use of soft tones that are fuzzy around the edges like a Rothko rectangle (this no doubt the result of both artists utilizing tape as their primary medium).
There is an obvious distinction that defines these two works from one another, however, and that distinction is hinted at in their respective titles. While Basinski was literally studying disintegration–as his magnetic tape loop slowly consumed itself–Mucci is instead investigating transition or transformation. This semantic distinction sets a trajectory for Days Blur Together that is altogether different in its conception and thus in tone. While Basinski’s work–which is graced with a cover image of Manhattan smoldering in the wake of the 9/11 attacks–is melancholy (to say the least), Mucci’s work is infused with a sense of serene, yet empowering contentment. The sort of contentment one encounters when the timeless secrets of the universe seem to reveal themselves, even if only for a moment.
Days Blur Together is an extraordinary simple recording that consists of Mucci looping guitar recordings onto 1/4″ tape and then playing it back on a busted reel to reel deck. The result is a gorgeous shimmering sound that unfolds ever so slowly, so slowly in fact that that change within the piece can be very difficult to detect. In fact, listening to Mucci’s piece all the way through–which is the only way one should listen to it–requires a fair amount of mental energy. The payoff, however, is more than worth it.
Mucci’s disciplined approach to drone construction has to be commended. It would be completely understandable if Mucci had elected to litter this piece with suggestive field recordings, twinkling bits of electro-acoustic sounds, or other random cliché noises that would break the monotony that is surely to set in for listeners unwilling to commit to this challenging composition. Admirably, however, Mucci–who also hosts the Sounds from the Tall House radio program on Guelph’s CFRU 93.3FM–correctly forgoes these distractions. By doing this he is able to preserve and focus the listeners’ attention on the fundamental lesson that this drone conveys–change that is seemingly non-existent has actually long been in motion whether one has had the perceptual tools to pick up on it or not.
From its onset until its conclusion over 65 minutes later, the beautifully crafted multilayered drone that comprises the whole of M. Mucci’s Days Blur Together demands the listener’s singular and focused concentration. So much so, in fact, that perhaps the CDr’s hand-made packaging should come with some sort of warning label to alert unsuspecting ears that this CDr is encoded with a work that is not intended simply for the traditional consumption by one’s ears; rather, this work seems to function as an audio mechanism that trains the mind to perceive things at a slower almost glacial rate. Perhaps a second warning label should also be attached; embracing the perception-altering regimen contained within will result in a fascination with observing things that appear to be still, but are in fact changing, like the growth of grass or the rotation of planets. As the title of this piece indicates, Days Blur Together is an appreciative meditation on the often unperceivable pace of change that is occurring around us at all times.
Review by Taylor Waite