Besides sporting a pair of keen ears, Fergus Kelly is absorbed by the symbolic aspects of the life that surrounds us. At one point in the seventh segment of Local Knowledge, a kid – evidently noticing his engrossment during an on-location recording – approaches him to bluntly ask “What the fuck are you listening to?”. This innocent question might summarize the current world’s lack of interest for the core of every existential matter. Namely, the consequences of particles vibrating on the basis of laws that cannot be explained by shocked simpletons pretending to own “the” knowledge (no pun intended).
As far as precisely localized sounds are concerned, this album comprises an awful lot of material. Most of what we hear reverberates as rather familiar (also to the gatherer, who collected the bulk of what’s heard in an area not distant from where he’s based). But here comes the touch of genius. Not only Kelly accumulated and sequenced natural and metropolitan events according to intelligent integrative criteria; he subjected them to a concatenation of processing phases that extract, expand and ultimately glorify their oscillating kernel. There is a big difference between simply catching the collective screaming of a flock of seagulls (not the band), or a bell tower, or a passing train in a normal context – as beautiful as those voices are – and perceiving the potential of a surrounding “frequency aura” blurring their definition inside a wider aural panorama.
What I am meaning is: this is not a mere list of audio snapshots. It’s a unique type of symphony in nine movements, in which the conductor is the lone element aware of how the combined “instruments” will work after weighing up all the outstanding characteristics. In that sense, Kelly did a great job of turning the animate/inanimate naturalness of the sources into gorgeously resonant echoes and murmurs, thus helping the mind to anticipate the next stage of our path: the arrival in a place where “harmoniousness” and “silence” really mean the same thing.