Produced at Tígh Macalla, Co.Sligo
TUNEDIN52 – Soft Envelope
by Massimo Ricci
John Daly: guitar, voice, mixing
Personal reasons led me to meeting John Daly's output for the first time, and what was found is surely deserving of being divulged to a wider audience. A 61-year old photographer and musician from Ireland, Daly distills his own special blend of psychedelically tinged sonic domains utilizing a mildly preconditioned baritone guitar processed by several looping / delay pedals, the outcome swollen by a software called Gleetchlab to add further layers of foggy enigma.
The man has been honing his soundscaping skills for decades now, and it shows independently from the fact that you might appreciate certain choices more or less (for example, the nebulously mumbling voices in tracks like “Automated Systems” or the gorgeous “Mary's Story” could divert the attention – just a bit - from the riveting textural fabrics unfolding in the background). What ultimately persuaded me is the individuality transpiring from Daly's proposals: “When I Dream Of Russia” wraps us with monolithic low-frequency resonance minus the humdrum component; the lengthy “Her Wish” is an absorbingly unfathomable galactic journey. My favorite pieces are those where the spirit of the guitar appears as an uncrystallized entity releasing beautiful chordal scents – not necessarily consonant, mind you - extended by the treatments and hovering all over the place (“Shadows” and, especially, the magnificent “Waters Blessed”). In any case there is always a feeling of sincerity in this music's brooding iteration, which distances it from the loads of miserable commonplacers who believe that anybody can ingest a phoney “Om”.
I won't continue with otiose blathering. Without acting as a trademark copycat, this gentleman – who records in a space known as Tigh Macalla (“Echo Room” in the Irish language) – produced an excellent work that should appeal, at least in part, to fans of Aidan Baker, Peter Wright and – depending on the moment – Andrew Chalk, but also to the liege men of contemporary underground electronica (thinking of PBK and the likes) and even refined ambient labels such as Hypnos. You know that we do not specialize in adulation here, so mark my words: it is never too late for a serious artist to expose his/her credibility.