[ad_1]

Some field recording artists travel to the ends of the earth to capture sounds many of us will never hear in person.  This year’s selection includes magma, ice and hydrophone recordings.  But field recording can be as simple as recording the sounds of one’s own backyard, twisting the dials on a hotel radio station or returning to a favorite town.  One artist listed below creates a soundscape of nature sounds out of real instruments. Whether the sounds are real or surreal, they reflect the nature of our site: to listen carefully to the music of the world, even when it isn’t labelled music.

On one of the albums below, we are fortunate to hear the final recordings of Philip Jeck, an artist who made an indelible impact on the experimental music scene. We dedicate this column to his legacy.

Aki Onda ~ Transmissions from the Radio Midnight (Dinzu Artefacts)
“The radio is like an ocean of languages”, says the artist in the liner notes; these Transmissions overflow with irregular tides of words and static. Voices and mechanical crackle constitute the aural texture of this album, a collage rooted in solitary experiences of travel, invisible technological networks tracing the vast outline of a primal-complex, linguistic dream shared among billions. Vocal cadences shift, the static recedes and returns, the rhythms of speech match and dislocate: this midnight mesh materializes the mesopelagic zone into which contexts seemingly unrelated are cast, now sinking into our ears. (David Murrieta Flores)

Original Review

Francesco Fabris & Ben Frost ~ Vakning (Room40)
Vakning is the hottest record of the year.  (We hope the label will use this quote!)  Throughout the set, Fagradalsfjall seems on the verge of eruption.  The ground rumbles, the magma bubbles, the alarms sound; and the artists continue to record.  Consider this the live version of Frost’s By the Throat.  In this case, the dramatic tension is built not by electronic instruments and orchestral elements, but by the earth itself, boiling and breaking, threatening to attack.  (Richard Allen)

Original Review

Jana Winderen ~ The Blue Beyond (Touch)
When diving below the surface, one is amazed at the wealth of sounds and the distance at which they travel.  For decades, Jana Winderen has been exposing these sounds to ears above water.  The two installation works on The Blue Beyond serve as a celebration of marine activity and a warning about sonic pollution; if the sound of motors is unwelcome to those listening to a record, imagine how threatening it might sound to a resident of the seas.  (Richard Allen)

Original Review

Kate Carr ~ false dawn (Flaming Pines)
Described by British music publication The Quietus as “probably the most significant field recordist of contemporary Britain,” Carr is part of a rich British tradition of making art out of the sounds of our environment. Carr’s environment is varied, as comfortable recording in nature as she is in the city. On False Dawn, one of several albums released by Carr in 2023, she puts that career of listening to nature to work in its artificial recreation. Although a listener might be fooled into thinking they are hearing Carr’s footsteps as she enters the woods for another attempt to capture a dawn chorus, the sounds on False Dawn are, as the album title hints, false: studio recreations of rustling, whistles, and croaks. In its convincing imitation of the real thing, Carr reminds careful listeners of the false promise of recording and the capture of the real, just as she reminds them of the remarkable ability of human’s to mimic it. (Jennifer Smart)

Original Review

Lucie Páchová ~ Крънджилица (Skupina)
According to data from the National Register of Settlements (NRS) from 2021, a total of 592 villages in Bulgaria have no population or a single-digit number of inhabitants. Drawing from repeated field trips taken in 2011, 2014 and 2021, Lucie Páchová weaves a rich tapestry from times gone past threading interviews with domestic sounds and performances on prepared zither using objects found in abandoned houses. Initiating a dialogue between “inside” and “outside”, the past and present, she details the human cost of Communist policies on Bulgarian villagers, forced by the government to abandon their land and traditional way of life, leading to the depopulation of large areas in the mountainous and the border regions of the  country. (Gianmarco Del Re)

Original Review

Manja Ristić ~ water memory – mnemosonic topographies of the Adriatic
Manja Ristić has been mapping out the aural topography of the Adriatic through an ever growing number of works, mostly from the vantage point of the island of Korčula. Over the past year alone, she has released just short of a dozen albums in her ongoing investigation. With mnemosonic she turns her attention to abandoned places and landscapes reshaped by extensive intervention of human presence and exploitation, and eventually “given over“ to Nature to reclaim the space. Here, Ristić produces a haunting score, by giving a narrative drive to the ebb and flow of  contamination. (Gianmarco Del Re)

Original Review

Marja Ahti ~ Tender Membranes (Black Truffle)
The beauty of this album resides in the soft fade-outs and subtle lingering of sounds. Ahti’s skill in highlighting and revealing the moments in which a sound becomes an other is truly remarkable, making sense of the layered quality of her compositions through the biological metaphor of the membrane. After all, it integrates and separates both an inside and an outside, poetically intertwining two elements as more than two. When sound waves meet, our eardrums (membranes themselves) are like a stepping stone in the formulation of sounds by our brains, a creative quality often lost to our consciousness, but whose point of departure is dissipation – waves turning into waves. (David Murrieta Flores)

Original Review

Natasha Barrett ~ Reconfiguring the Landscape (Persistence of Sound)
To reconfigure the landscape is to identify points of reference, to locate one’s self in the sonic story, and then to shuffle the deck.  How does one react when these points of reference shift?  The Venice soundscape is the star of this set, which asks if the miraculous may be heard in the mundane.  Bells toll at frequent intervals, posing similar questions about faith.  Children frolic, oblivious to such questions; they have no difficulty finding wonder; and neither, to our enjoyment, does Barrett. (Richard Allen)

Original Review

Philip Jeck & Chris Watson ~ Oxmardyke (Touch)
Stop. Look. Listen. Beware of trains. If sound waves vibrating just below our range of hearing can produce hauntings and feelings of dread, Philip Jeck seems to conjure up ghostly visitations through the careful manipulation of field recordings taken by Chris Watson at the Oxmardyke rail crossing on Tongue Lane in Yorkshire. The sense of transcendence is evident in the interplay between natural and mechanical sounds where the spacious aural environment recreated points firmly to what lies beyond. Oxmardyke is a result of sympathetic resonance between two sound artists, testament to their unique connection. (Gianmarco Del Re)

Original Review

Philip Samartzis ~ Atmospheres And Disturbances (Room40)
Atmospheres and Disturbances is a project about the natural world, about flux and change and the fragility of human outposts at the planet’s extremes. Yet it is also music, music as focused and patient as the scientific research that is its backdrop. While capturing the ways in which humans impact their sonic environment on a variety of scales — from global shifts in climate to the intimate hum of fluorescent lighting — Samartzis manages to create some of the most sonically unique and gracefully composed music being made today. Out of wind, ice, metal, water, and electricity, Samartzis conjures a gently arching series of concise movements that preserve the essence of a fleeting world under stress. (Peter Tracy)

Original Review



[ad_2]

-->