Avifaunal is the latest album from UK based duo Pausal, the audio and visual art project of Alex Smalley and Simon Bainton. It follows previous releases on labels such as Barge Recordings, Students of Decay, Own Records and Infraction. Individually, Alex has released numerous works under his Olan Mill alias and Simon has released on Hibernate Records.
Their music has been described as “billowing, vaporous, and cloud-like“, “a shimmering haze of humid ambience and sparkling field recordings“, “a colourful, yet ghostly, world of slow-moving, rejuvenating sound“. Live shows are a complete immersive experience, utilising large scale visuals created by the band. They have performed across the UK and in Europe supporting artists such as Grouper, Mountains, Stars of the Lid, Chihei Hatakeyama and Greg Haines.
In 2015 the band were asked by Martin Boulton of Touched Music to perform in Pembrokeshire, Wales and set about generating new material for the show. It was also an opportunity to develop a new equipment setup including looped turntable, voice microphones and synths. A local hall was hired for improvisation and practice sessions which provided an interesting sonic space to explore and possibilities to work at far louder volumes, both of which helped shape the eventual live set and the track “Murmuration” as that is represented here. “Spiral”, “Scatter” and “Soar” were also edited and assembled from the recording sessions around this time.
Taken as a whole, the resulting album is a diverse affair but could be said to have more in common with their heavier work to date (such as Forms, 2012) combined with an appreciation of texture (previously evident on Sky Margin, 2013) than the ambient material they are perhaps better known for (Lapses, 2010 and Along The Mantic Spring, 2014). From the crackling drone fog of “Murmuration I” and darkly psychedelic “Murmuration II” – through to the urgent percussive metallics on “Scatter” and serene synth-scapes of “Soar”; there is a wide ranging sound world here for the listener to experience and just as the title of the record suggests, they are encouraged to allow mind to take flight…