Murralin Lane - Our House Is On The Wall [12K - 2010]Sweden's David Wenngren is usually to be found under the name of Library Tapes releasing several albums of classical piano vignettes wrapped in field recordings since 2005, but as Murralin Lane the sound sources are not so obvious except for the haunting vocals of Ylva Wiklund.
On the cryptically titled 'Our House Is On The Wall', Wenngren creates a series of seven similar sound-pools across just over half-an-hour from tones, possibly born of piano, guitar or strings, that are severely stretched highlighting the digital kinks of the process. Into these paradoxical extensions that bear both organic and mechanic qualities individual glistening notes are dropped forming small, concentric patterns through which Wiklund's fragile slow song is filtered.
The combination becomes increasingly lugubrious as the album progresses. Initially, the subtly wavering drone of 'All We Hear Are Birds' suggests shafts of light warming a creaky porch at dawn, the undercurrents in the sound reflecting a gentle morning stretch. The passage from sleep to wakefulness continues into 'Folding Paper Planes' as Wiklund's subdued voice wanders wistfully around a bed of fragile waves, shimmering and stately but starting to stutter and faintly resist their otherwise gliding grace. But by the end of the third episode, 'She Is Climbing', the digital distressing of the audio starts to vandalise the raked textures of a pastoral path.
Midway, tinny filters chill the amber tones here and there as one starts to notice that all the tracks seem to stubbornly converge around the same extended note, placing a monotonous emphasis on mid to high frequencies. By the end of the album, without much in the way of variety in pace or melodic progression, the feeling is bleak. With the vocals increasingly emerging (although retaining a cellphone delivery) to remind of a lonely girl singing by herself in a deserted school playground, the album taken as a whole seems to artfully describe loss and the ensuing sad reminiscence - like morbidly returning to the stomping grounds of a deceased friend despite the predictable pain it brings as part of the mourning process.Russell Cuzner