Album #103: Lull – Moments

  • Released: 1998
  • Origin: Birmingham, England
  • Label: Relapse
  • Best Track: Doesn’t really work like that!

Out of boredom earlier this week, I was looking at lists of albums that had an insane number of tracks. The legendary punk compilation Short Music for Short People was on the list and was one I was already familiar with, with its 101 tracks of around 30 seconds each. But a new one on me was this intriguing work by Lull, a side project of Napalm Death drummer Mick Harris.

About as far removed from the deafening thrash and grind of Napalm Death as it’s possible to get, Moments consists of low-frequency humming, droning, clicking, crackling, trickling of water and whooshing. Barely even audible at times, it’s broken into 99 tracks of around a minute each, but played normally it sounds like one continuous piece. It’s a focused, ambient project that I imagine could easily be linked to increased productivity.

What interests me though is that I’ve seen a rumour crop up that Harris did not intend for this album to be listened to in 1-99 order. Unusually for an artist, he wanted the listener to shuffle the tracks. This means that there are an incredible 9.33262154 x 10^155 (99 factorial) different ways the album could be heard, and the chances of you ever getting the same one twice are infinitesimally small.

So that’s what I did on second listen, checking out just one of that ridiculous number of listening experiences. It meant that I didn’t start with the low-key, airy ‘Moment 1’, but the gurgling, pressurised sound of ‘Moment 93’. From there, it jumped to something entirely different every minute or so. Suddenly, what was a passive listening experience became an arresting one – jarring and dissonant.

Listened to in order, this record is something you could easily put on while you filled in your tax returns. Try to do that with it on shuffle and it would drive you bonkers with its constant fluctuations in volume and intensity. It becomes more like a soundtrack to a film that keeps cutting to different characters in different predicaments. Or simply being in a room where somebody won’t stop flicking through the channels.

All very interesting. I’m not sure whether I’ll revisit Moments at any time, but I commend the experiment.

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