*In process of stocking* Music For Listening, the sophomore album by Michael Scott Dawson. The album is comprised of twelve ambient works for guitar. It follows his 2020 debut Nowhere, Middle Of which was built around generative synths. Not wanting to repeat himself, Dawson entirely abandoned the synthesizer, his primary instrument, on Music For Listening. The resulting guitar pieces lean heavily on tape loops and manipulations, and are accompanied by field recordings and spare piano elements. This music rests at the intersection of composition, improvisation, and chance, with patient and simple melodies emerging and recurring across the album like mantras.
Dawson’s inspiration grew from a phone call to his 95-year-old grandmother. As they talked, she shared observations about the birds outside her window, just as she’d done since he was a child. Upon hanging up the phone, he felt compelled to dig out recordings he’d made some summers before, while visiting family. These fragments were initially intended to be part of an album of prairie birdsong: he’d trekked through pastures and farmland on the outskirts of his childhood hometown to capture the audio. Field recordings in the truest sense. Dawson abandoned this project because the raw audio was densely populated with the hiss and crackle of mosquitoes and insects swarming the microphones: but listening back, after that phone call and after many years, he was struck by the similarities between these recordings and the music he would come to compose. While the audio played, he found himself compelled to pick up a guitar and tinker along. Dawson’s commitment to the follow-up album he’d been deep into creating evaporated in that moment, and he switched course to begin crafting Music For Listening.