I have moments a few times a week where I find myself staring off into some nonexistent horizon. Eyes let go of focus and what lies before me becomes some kind of fuzz and light display. A quick kind of sedation that melts the mire of the day away while the brain catches up. These moments are a kind of momentary bliss. Meditative sequences that are nothing more than a few seconds before a voice says “Hey. Are you listening to me?”, to which I reply “Sorry, what did you say?”
Paul Hares’ The Magic of Awareness is two tracks at just under 33 minutes. The music works much like my fuzzy moments of sedation in that they feel and sound a bit out of focus but warm. They have moments of melody and bliss, as well as ambient drones and white noise. It’s as if someone made a cut and paste album from snippets of dreams and indecipherable thoughts.
Where do you begin with an album like this? This isn’t a party record. There’s no tinkling of glasses and chit chat as something like “Magic Side” plays. This is more of a magic blotter and a sensory deprivation tank kind of listen. This is Altered States territory. There are moments of melody and misty blue morning calm. There are also distorted drones and science fiction drift. New age music on bad acid. Daniel Lopatin’s psychedelic drone kind of stuff happening here.
“Awareness Side” has shades of melancholy as it aches along like a dystopian cloudburst. I’m reminded of the beautifully serene and criminally unknown Night Flights Vol. 1 album someone from the UK hipped me to. This song waxes and wanes between mechanical buzzes and hypnotic drones, giving the feeling of waking from surgery. Still in a gauzy state of numbed pain and a narcotic high, you wonder if this is real or you’re still under the blanket of anesthesia.
This album sounds like quilts of noise made from old machines and dissipating universes. Hints of melody interlock with vacant thoughts and dreams left to die on the vine. Impressionistic collages of nothing that in the right ears add up to something.
Paul Hares said of his newest release, “There is little to say about this particular album – it’s just another mix, a collection of my improvisations and experiments without any special meanings and messages – I think it’s more a matter of perception of the listeners.”
I feel that’s the best way to describe The Magic of Awareness, that it’s more a matter of the perception of the listeners. It’s what you wanna make of it. Maybe it’s weird and sounds like the air conditioner kicking on to you. Maybe it seems like the white noise between your ears when you’re lying in bed late at night trying to fall asleep. Or maybe it’s the aural version of those little moments of quiet sedation that come over you. When your eyes let go of their focus, and what feels like a mile away you hear a voice say “Hey. Are you listening to me?”
7.7 out of 10