Call Me When You Can is the collaborative album between American musicians and friends Ned Milligan and John Atkinson. It is out now via Facture and Fluid Audio and was mastered by Taylor Deupree. According to the press release, Fifteen years of friendship has given ‘Call Me When You Can’ a warm heart. Although their lives went in separate directions, Ned Milligan and John Atkinson stayed in touch. Ned was producing chimes up in Maine, fitting in his musical pursuits and passions with the regular rhythm of daily life. John had recently relocated back to the USA after living in Australia, travelling from California to Minneapolis to New York and onwards to New Jersey.
Ned sent John cassette recordings of Maine-born chimes; sounds that were raised on the front porch. John fed the chimes into his laptop, altering and editing them before sending them back. In this way, Call Me When You Can took on a life of its own, sliding between the two states and retaining a strong fluidity and balance in spite of the distance. John improvised over the top of Ned’s sounds, using the original source to add subtle colourings and gentle tweaks to the call-and-response process.
The music is a feathery breeze, and the breeze can also represent their friendship: easy, approachable, and still very much alive. Chimes fade in and out, rising and falling in volume and intensity like a long-distance signal or an intermittent phone reception (or even scatterings of dialogue and communication, draped over a gathering of years), but still coming through the mix, highlighting the strength of the bond.
Perhaps the most surprising element is its level of intimacy. The process was a long-distance one, but their friendship knows no bounds. Strong friends can pick up where they left off, no matter the gulf. Friendship can survive and even outlast distance – just give me a call when you can.