Richly layered field recordings, crisp editing, and superb use of digital instruments and samples combine to form My Fun’s self-release “The Quality of Something Audible.” The most striking quality of this disc is the gentle nature of all the tracks. Although “The Quality of Something Audible” reportedly took about two years to make, one gets the feeling the album was grown rather than assembled.
“My Fun” creator Justin Hardison states that he is creating work “without a particular musical genre determining the sound of the final output.” Although this is true, it seems a little too modest, like the depreciatory “My Fun” name. Tracks like “Wide-Awake” layer harp, incidental sounds, field recordings, and electronic noises into something both strikingly new, yet maddeningly familiar. The final cut “Fireworks” is incredibly beautiful– not only for the perfectly-recorded fireworks themselves– but the way they are slowly kneaded into the tune. If there is anything wrong with this album, it is that it’s not a two-disc set.
“Idyll” offers the same lush recording quality as “The Quality of Something Audible,” but slightly more immediate. Not yet released (it is scheduled for December by net-label Test Tube), “Idyll” has a “later that evening” feel that makes it a fine companion to “The Quality of Something Audible.” Although it easily stands on its own, for listeners who enjoy hearing an artist’s growth over time, playing the two albums back-to-back is irresistable.
As for sound, “Idyll” has a slightly darker presence. The second of four tracks, “Home Tape” makes use of bell sounds or chimes, something like a old rocking chair, wind noise, and digital effects. “Black Sky” uses static or tide sounds to back a similar, but less-friendly, chiming pattern of organ and muted bell tones. A heartbeat and sampled voices create an uneasiness that simply is not present in “The Quality of Something Audible.” In “Slowness,” the looping strings are joined by an insistent high pitch as they simulataneously are stuttered. Scratching electrical hums beat from side to side before being suddenly silenced. For listeners, it may be jarring to realize just how “narrative” this album really is when they are literally dumped out of it at the end.