If you don’t know who David Newlyn is, he’s an ambient artist as well as the owner and operator of the record label Cathedral Transmissions. Church Fires, the newest sonic excursion by David Newlyn, is a 43:20-minute piece that plays on a central drone. It’s a quiet work, subtle and patient. The drone is hypnotic and also magnetic, drawing the listener into the soundscapes of Newlyn’s aural world. While there is a patience here, the sound that swells and recedes is siren-like, with the tonal quality of one circling their finger on the rim of a glass. It is a paradoxical sound, working to help the serene atmosphere while creating a small edge of urgency.
My first impression of “Church Fires” was that it was glacial, but I think I was wrong about that. There is too much movement here for it to be that unhurried. Rather, it flows, like a gentle river, keeping apace enough to remain crystal clear and to evoke contemplation. In fact, “Church Fires” is riveting once one gives oneself over to its sonic layers.
Check out David Newlyn’s Church Fires on Polar Seas Recordings and visit his label which has an incredible array of artists.