Dealing nowadays with atmospheric/electronic materials that make abundant use of environmental recordings introduces the risk of a poor figure for a reviewer, one way or another. Take for example this album by Darren McClure, who lists cooperations with estimable labels in his CV, but of whom we knew zilch concerning the sonic output before listening to this release.
A Mere Fraction comprises music that, aesthetically speaking, has nothing wrong or distasteful enough to be harshly criticized. Its components are expertly arranged in the aural panorama, the constant emergence of real life refractions modulated by astute processing. The audio quality is impeccable and I sincerely enjoyed several tracks, although now and then along the set a couple of dangerous flirts with the genre’s clichés do occur.
The vile side of my brain instilled the suspicion that a record like this could be produced by any geek with a minimum of talent and money to afford adequate equipment. In essence, I have some difficulty in separating the composer’s actual skill – it’s definitely there, mind you – from the smoke thrown in the eyes by the mix’s resonant richness.
All things considered, a measure of seriousness is detectable in McClure’s work, his approach perceived as quite conscientious by these ears. This, for the moment, is sufficient to promote the effort, albeit with a few second thoughts. In any case, if one’s not obsessed with excessive analytical claims, A Mere Fraction sounds really good more often than not.