Were the Barrons, of Forbidden Planet soundtrack fame, still alive and working today, they might very well sound like Marc McNulty, the musician and sound artist whose explorations of small sonic spaces result in squiggling effects that suggest an otherworldly aura. His is a characteristically internecine journey through microscopic dank pockets of slomo whirligigs, melting tonal affect, and tantalizing garbles. Which is to say, it sounds both like a modern use of digital audio tools to explore audio objects, and like the special effects from an ancient science fiction film. Tomorrow’s music is yesteryear’s foley sounds. - Marc Weidenbaum (disquiet.com)
MARC MCNULTY - IN CELL SURVIVAL (CD by Earphone)
As early as Vital Weekly 12 we find the name Marc McNulty, who worked then as Photophobia. In the last half of the 90s, McNulty was quite active in the field of long, atmospheric drone pieces. He released works on such long gone labels as Plate Lunch, Isomorphic and later on his own Earphone. After 2000 things got quiet around him, except for a bunch of releases in 2006 (see Vital Weekly 549, 582 and 587) and then it got all quiet again. I have no idea what the reason is for this rather unstable career, but here is another sign of ongoing activity. The cover doesn't shed much light on what it is that McNulty does, but his website notes this: "… composes using analog and digital systems in a fragmentary manner. He deeply explores digital signal processing and the radio frequency spectrum. Marc's work includes: data visualization, multi-channel sound installations, microsound, sound diffusions and cinema for the ear."
There are three long pieces on this CD, totaling close to an hour. What goes into the chain of signal processing is a bit unclear, but these might perhaps be field recordings. It then is locked into a chain of generative events, slowly changing shape, color and dimension. Although it's hardly 'autopilot' music - it's not an excerpt of an ever lasting, always changing algorithm, but composed by a human, for the time needed. Styllistically McNulty stays close to his older musical principles, that of the highly atmospheric music. In 'Quartermass' this is quite deep, going back to his earliest work, but in 'Brisance' and 'Backscatter' it all seems a bit more reduced, and especially 'Backscatter' reminded me of the current music of Asmus Tietchens, especially if drones et all are reduced further more and high end bleeps and ticks remain. Excellent stuff, with a fine, dramatic build up, come down and moving along barren ice fields and hot desserts. Ambient industrial music in that 'Quartermass', like standing close a steel factory - but not inside the actual factory itself. Great, evocative music. (Frans de Waard, Vital Weekly)