Tabs Out | Dura – Mercury

Dura – Mercury

1.21.21 by Matty McPherson

My currently favored hobby is gazing at the moon as a cool breeze slowly encroaches from the coast. You gotta be patient though, waiting for it to come at you. Thus, I recommend acquiring a zero-gravity reclining chair. As far as I know, dusk, dawn, or as close to midnight as you can are preferred; the stillest, most reflective apexes of the day. Of course, it would not hurt to have a quiet, reflective ambient tape in hand either.

Soundtracking these apexes has been Dura’s Mercury. The man behind the project, Mattson Ogg, has been building a steady array of blissed out ambient, in between helping Luke Stewart with recording a couple of his exceptional improvs released on Astral Spirits and Atlantic Rhythms. Maybe you caught him on a 2019 Garden Portal tape or even earlier on Matthew Sage’s Patient Sounds in 2014. Perhaps you are me and you’ve finally decided to just embrace the unknown with Mercury–the first release on the DC-based Atlantic Rhythms this year. 

Atlantic Rhythms has been adamant about documenting “deep contemporary” music. Releases include free noise, jazz, and komische; all build slow and steady over their respective run times. Even with a “jazz” tag in its Bandcamp page, Mercury leans closer to “american primitivism.” No worries though; it still gracefully parallels those genres’ senses of space and improv. 

Previous releases under the Dura moniker have dabbled in shorter (read: nine minutes instead of eighteen) songwriting, Ogg’s return to longform enshrines that type of deep laid back music for waiting. He’s got natural depth for creating silky nocturnal stillness; the kind that happens at those dusk, dawn, or midnight hours I’ve become so fond of. On “‘I’m Perfect in an Empty Room’”, it practically sounds akin to being under a lone roadside light in the mist. The sound stretched out to infinity for over 15 minutes recalls how Windy and Carl take minor moments and stretch them for ages.

But this is no gazey worship! Even with the guitar/delay pedal combo to enact these kinds of zones, side B of Mercury belongs to a vivid deep listening exercise. As “Interior/Exterior/’God Stays Up All Night’” unfurls, so do a number of echoes. Yet, Ogg chooses not to follow them and instead focus on a delicate strum of his guitar. It’s a gorgeous layering, creating the feeling of being alone together, as the tape hiss feels like a light wind coming off from the cosmic shore.

Dura’s releases have been known to go quite fast-something I imagine will happen two-fold with it being on Atlantic Rhythms. So, snag a copy before the Dura-Heads take ‘em all!

Edition of 100 from the Atlantic Rhythms Bandcamp

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