CD-R, Twenty Hertz/Sileat, 2006
Paul Bradley and Cría Cuervos conspire to accelerate the fabric of time itself with their collaborative work, “Moraines.” It is an extensive ambient piece, and begins with such quiet subtlety it found me double-checking the speakers for a minute or two before I decided that indeed, there was a track playing. Forty-six minutes and unknown ages later, “Moraines” had transformed a tapestry of sibilant drones and harmonic hums into an acoustic time machine, dialed to the late Pleistocene.
A moraine is an accumulation of boulders, stones, or other debris carried and deposited by a glacier. Paul Bradley and Cría Cuervos have either created the very music by which to watch glaciers, or a soundtrack in which the ghosts of ice flows passed are revisited at a glacial pace. The listener is transported to a sparse land of grey earth and windswept vegetation, where cycles of climate and erosion have remade vistas time and again. From vantage atop a small ridge – amassed in the wake of a glacier many thousands of years before – hints at booming undercurrents rise to the listener’s ears through uncharted meters of long-forgotten ice.
“Moraines” is a system of deposits; a complex sediment of sounds. In its beginning, the haunting echoes of falling stones scatter through lulling white noise, like unseen things rustling in dark crevices. The piece gradually shifts toward more harmonic tones and builds intensity with hissing crescendos reminiscent of trapped air escaping through widening cracks. Finally, after more than thirty minutes have passed, the collaborators usher in thawing ice and sounds of trickling, seeping and gurgling water. At the static-filled culmination of “Moraines,” waking life – buzzing insects and restless amphibians, perhaps – gathers in the slowly warming pools and scrub where glaciers once enthralled the land.
— Dutton Hauhart