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  • Nathan Yoder

Album of the Week - Nicholas Maloney - Lignum Muzek

In case you haven't experienced enough unsettledness in 2020, here is an offering of longform pieces characterized by backwoods field recordings, industrial noise, building bass pressure, and spans of eerie silence. On his sprawling (107-minute!) Lignum Muzek, sound artist Nicholas Maloney takes us around Jackson, Mississippi - his hometown. But this visit does not include any TripAdvisor recommendations. While Lignum Muzek certainly includes moments of beauty, most sounds are alien, and often terrifying.


Maloney uses a bit of standard instrumentation on his most recent drop (some strings, some woodwinds, some organ - all fairly unrecognizable), but also a good amount of synthesized drone and manipulated tape. Various found sounds come through as well, both organic and manmade. To give you an idea, "wood" is listed as a primary source of noise here. But as alluded to once already, the absence of sound is perhaps the most striking quality of Maloney's constructions. It can give the feeling of impending dread, like the rising action to a horror movie's climax. As a guide, Maloney takes us into overgrown forests, through abandoned scrapyards, and into the dead of night. Just what we need in these final dark days of 2020.


If the album's length feels too daunting, we would suggest starting with the 38-minute track, Lignum Muzek 2. And yeah, that's still pretty long, but it's a good cross-section of the many moods and textures found on the rest of the album. Below is a Bandcamp link through enmossed, so check it out.