Loose Lips

Paul Mac - Sunday Sessions Vol. 2 (Stimulus Recordings)

Release Review

Paul Mac - Sunday Sessions Vol. 2 (Stimulus Recordings)

Paul Mac is currently known for often releasing crunchy minimal techno tracks. For the Sunday Sessions series (both additions released this year on his own imprint Stimulus Recordings) he opts for an increased focus on relaxing soundscapes.

On Sunday Sessions Vol. 2 Paul Mac seemingly attempts to give the listener images and scenes to consider using the (often under-used) power of the track listing. Through this, Mac is effectively asking us to hold these images in our minds as we listen to each corresponding track. The problem in this use of musical metaphor is that if one so much as gets it even slightly wrong, it will come crashing down on top of them. Now hold that thought as we consider the key tracks from the release...backwards. 

Track eight, ‘The Inevitable Climb’, is an ethereal shuffling, crackling and looping soundscape, which does indeed conjure up the image of a majestic climb to some kind of crystal ice summit. It’s the pure repetition that is synonymous with walking and climbing, and the sounds therein represent an exciting journey.


In track seven, phasing arps make us feel the momentum of the ‘Standing Wave’. Although we’re joined by a break in the rhythm, it really doesn’t feel like this wave has actually climaxed yet.  As the arpegiator flourishes, a second break comes in and we can build a picture of this wave crashing against some of the cliffs on the edge of the bay we’re heading towards. However, we stay with the wave and as warm stabs join us in the soundtrack we notice speedboats and then surfers follow suit as we close in on the shore. The abrupt end to the track is like a brief moment of mourning for it’s passing.


Paul paints another pretty picture on the track entitled ‘Looking at the Hill’, which once again has my imagination perfectly molded, this time to a ‘the grass is always greener…’ type situation. I’m basically sitting on a small green mountain looking at another similar one, and the view is glorious. The slow chord progression that loops in the foundations of the track is reminiscent of the style found in golden era Japanese video game OSTs. Like the eighth track, this attempts to hypnotize the listener into a lulled and compliant state, and we’re willingly back in daydream land.


On ‘Fours Rotating’ the space age sounds we’ve become accustomed to in the earlier tracks come to a spearhead and we finally feel like we’re rotating in a space station above an as of yet undiscovered planet.  Incredibly extended chords lay the foundations and give a cold but ethereal feel, and a shuffling beat combined with brief acid licks produces an overall beautiful dismay.


A rolling kick teams with an abrupt clap on ‘Dust Particles’ to give us what is quite likely the heaviest track of the release.  Although rhythmically more satisfying and undoubtedly more complex, the track uses clever masking of it’s effective simplicity.  This one boasts some defiantly interesting warping synths.  There is one in particular that seems to be arpeggiated to a particularly high tempo and thus stands out in an incredibly effective manner.


On the track ‘All from One Place’ we’re then introduced to the overall utopia we’ve been asked to imagine in chunks but this time in a kind of overview. The same bouncing, growling distortion/white noise that’s been there in a subtle way throughout almost all the previous tracks comes together with phasing clicks and whirrs, which act effectively as percussion. It’s an otherworldly and surprisingly fast soundscape.


This release is a compilation of somewhat ambient jams, some fully realised and some not. I found myself prone to imagining certain environments in conjunction with certain tracks - a Sunday well spent really.

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https://paulmac.bandcamp.com/album/sunday-sessions-vol-2

Released October 23, 2017