Sean McCann is a household name to many of you who frequent this webzine. I mean, I think everyone knows who he is and gives him the respect he deserves when it comes to his ample discography. So, I tried to shelve my bias, knowing that this would be a great album without even hearing it, and approach this 2xCD-R collection objectively. This was very difficult to do, mind you. However, I think I can honestly say that if I had never been exposed to his other works like “Boomerangutan,” “Sway,” “Phase Pools,” or “Phylum Sigh,” that I still would’ve thought this guy is one of the best things I’ve heard in experimental music today. Having heard much of his other material though I have a better point of reference regarding what makes “Fountains” distinct from his other work.
First off, “Fountains” is a double disc album, so you have so much here for your money. It also just came out as a reissue on cassette. Secondly, this is what I consider to be a new step for Mr. McCann. I felt like the other releases I had heard before were more varied in approach and had more noisy and quirky moments than “Fountains” ever does. This feels more like a purely ambient pair of discs. More of a Celer-style technique here with a McCann twist. This is great, because I love this kinda stuff. But, I do feel like that’s a change-up from what I remember. Like, “Boomerangutan” was crazy. It was all plastic, underwater tape mess. “Sway” had lots of different all-over-the-board tracks. That was probably my favorite time spent with Mr. McCann’s magic. Noise, ambient, fun drone; it had it all. “Phase Pools” was more of the fun drone side with peculiar sounds thrown in, and some softer acoustic tracks helped break it up. “Phylum Sigh” seemed to pick up where “Phase Pools” left off and even took it to the next level. But this, this is the lighter, more tonal side of Sean McCann. I am speechless after hearing this. Beautiful flowing streams of sound to wash over you. I mean, sure, it’s Sean McCann, so you’ll get a couple tracks that got lost and decided to seek shelter on this expansive collection. “The Lobby” and “Canal” are literally dripping with aquatic splishes and splashes. But, what else would you expect to find hidden away on one of his albums. It’s like a signature. He autographed it and confirmed it as his own by throwing in the idiosyncratic field recordings that are practically a trademark. Overall, this is a much smoother album than I was expecting. Very easy listening. Really nice. 9/10 -- Dave Miller (4 August, 2010)