Tristan Louth-Robins | THE PATH DESCRIBED
"There is an otherworldly quality to the field recordings of Tristan Louth-Robins, which is, of course, entirely the wrong word. They are intrinsically of this world. Within them we may distinguish a familiar birdsong or aural backdrop, the usual but usually unregarded mutterings of the world as it is —
a messy, frontier place full of strange cohabitants, marked by vibrant incongruences. And, yet, something not quite of this world pertains. Nostalgia — a remembrance of things past — is an important emotion for Louth-Robins, and it may be this that infuses these recordings with an essence that takes the listener beyond the quotidian. There is no mistaking Louth-Robins’ affinity with the places he documents, shaped by ineradicable personal connections with the landscapes of South Australia’s Fleurieu Peninsula. If these recordings take us back to the natural world, to the coastlines and cliffs and epic ranges and waterways for which the region is noted, then they also transport us back in time. They open a window not only onto a realm rich with human activity thousands of years before the name of a Frenchman was assigned to it, but also onto the story of an individual and how he first heard the world around him."
— Ben Brooker
Stephen Cornford | MUSIC FOR EARBUDS
"Music for Earbuds is composed entirely from headphone feedback which makes some surprisingly organic (as well as electronic) sounds, Stephen Cornford writes to introduce his new CD. A collection of sounds stark and stubborn, as a listener you hit against their form, slide on their surfaces. These sounds so alien yet alluring call you to spend time with them, attend to them. They mark the edges of hearing and understanding. The edge here is the ear that hears as listening encounters nothing but itself. There is no key into or out of these sounds, only the endless play of their fabrications. In a blog entry, Stephen quotes: 'Put in a nutshell, the real question is: how can we control and humanise an already uncontrollable and dehumanising technology, when the value foundation for that attempted humanisation is rapidly disintegrating. (Source unknown).' The circularity of these sounds bounces the responsibility of listening back onto you: their tones, sharp or rounded, puncture your understanding with their presence. Set against a deep void, in their exaggerated detachment they mock the easy, dangerous assumption that a recording is true: as incantations these frequencies return and turn and generate new meanings in themselves, different every time, true every time."
— Daniela P. Cascella
MUfi.re | THESE WALLS RESEMBLE ABSENCE
"The sounds of These Walls Resemble Absence were recorded by Rui Almeida in an abandoned factory (located in northern Portugal), a complex of pavilions that are now in a deep state of degradation. In a recording process based on intuition and instinct, firstly, we can imagine objects being handled, picked and dragged but, at some point, the atmosphere feels strangely natural, as if wind and randomness, a sort of harmony in chaos is playing, or rising from latency. Objects do seem to have a voice, while being stimulated, forming a multitude of sound syllables such, that while the process endures, we can think of a redefinition of these objects and space, in a very particular interpretation, much different than what a factory imagery could suggest. A body of sound that feels large, spacious, minimalistic but complex, where you can breathe and still become aware of the tiniest detail and texture. We can wonder about what is and what is not incidental or just let ourselves be immersed in this new/old space."
— Nuno Miranda Ribeiro
Bjarni Gunnarsson | PROCESSES & POTENTIALS
"So much music claims to capture the moment. But as Processes & Potentials proves, in-the-momentness can be a malleable concept. The result of three years of studio work, the album sees Bjarni Gunnarsson following his longstanding interest in exploring liquid states, transformational activities and the complex relationships between cause and effect. It is music which behaves differently, unexpectedly, veering off into surprising directions and never staying in one place for too long – it is certainly no coincidence that one of the pieces here is called "Momentaries". The reason for this fluid, intuitive development is Gunnarson's conviction that it is infinitely more exciting to follow and shape the path of his materials as it is unfolding rather than mapping out the trajectory in full from the outset: "One should not constantly think of a final result while creating", as he puts it, "Rather, it is important to engage in the process and its becoming."
Processes & Potentials is, undoubtedly, an uncompromising work in its austere sonic design, crackling rhythmical pulses dancing on top of monochrome tectonics and convoluting sounds. But at the same time, it is one of the few sound art releases that gets the adrenalin pumping as well, with each of these six piece seamlessly passing through a variety of concise scenes, ranging from the pastoral and serene to the delirious and confronting. Applying layman's psychology, it would be easy to explain this approach by Gunnarsson's curiosity and wandering spirit, by his moves from Iceland to Paris, Berlin and The Hague. More to the point, however, he never ceases to be fascinated by the undiscovered potentials of creativity and what it is, exactly, that defines the resulting sound processes. It may lead some listeners outside their comfort zone for the album's 47 minutes. But then again, it makes each single moment contained within them feel a lot more precious. "
— Tobias Fischer
Camilla Hannan | STRANGELANDS
"Camilla Hannan's Strangelands has been created from her exploration of four very specific locations, and the audio recordings she captured in-situ. As we all know Eric's house is in far North Coburg and Strangelands is of course a suburb of Brisbane. Each of these locations are islands only accessible by ferry, and as evidenced by the resulting compositions presented here, they are all surrounded by large industrial complexes.
The only problem with any of this is that these four locations do not actually exist. So, does this album act as a form of crypto-sonic documentation? Or perhaps I should more simply describe it as playful act of audio falsification? How should I know and what does it really matter anyway? While listening to this album, if I close my eyes I find myself in one place, and when I open them again I am somewhere else. Sonic objects appear and disappear, flitting in and out of my peripheral audition. Small exquisite details of factory noise blend with the distant sound of murky nocturnal suburban habitation and the scurryings of the mutant creature created by this co-mingling. My sense of perspective is all muddled and I can longer tell if something is up way too close or forever lost in the distance. How the hell did I get onto this boat? Why is the Metro flooded? And how did all those seagulls and insects get in here?
I won't claim to know what this work is trying to tell me, but it is indeed speaking to me. However it has definitely revealed one thing. No matter where you search or how hard you look, Strangelands will still be located inside your ears."
— Eamon Sprod
Ralph Koper | ANCIENT PULSATIONS
"These field recordings made in Varanasi presents authentic and vital life of the Indian people. This is a world where things around us are not infinitely secularized and separated, controlled and restricted but a world where each one is One. Gods and people, animals and objects appear to be in harmony with each other and flowing in a timeless order. For the Western ear, Ralph Koper's recordings open a new sound world which is colorful and exciting, beautiful and ancient.
Extace from the ghats and Ganges of Benares, a scientific care essay written by the artist completes the journey through the Ancient Pulsations a real experience."
— Ákos Garai
Mathieu Ruhlmann | THIS STAR TEACHES BENDING
"In 2012, my mother at the age of 63 was diagnosed with a rare terminal lung disease. She was given a six-month life expectancy at this time. These recordings were created over the same period of time, comprised of amplifying the human body, various medical equipment and devices, as well as location recordings, that were involved, related to, or used during her treatment.
The title "This Star Teaches Bending" refers to a painting on paper by the artist Paul Klee that he completed in the year of his death. Klee lived the last few years of his life in Bern, plagued by scleroderma, a rare skin disease. Although he never recovered from this illness, he always maintained his love of life, facing his suffering with a trenchant ‘so what?’ But by 1940 he had to accept that there was no hope of a cure or any improvement in his health. The star had taught him to bend to the blows of fate.
The track titles refer to titles of paintings that Klee created in 1939-1940, the last year of his life. These recordings are dedicated to Valerie Joy."
— Mathieu Ruhlmann
Jay-Dea López | THE GREAT SILENCE
"In The Great Silence, Australian sound artist, Jay-Dea López, has created an Australian soundscape anchored in the present but very much of the past. It’s the type of composition at which López excels.
This forty-minute piece is a mix of Australian nocturnal natural sounds layered with modified field recordings. By recording only native nocturnal species in local forests late at night López has carefully avoided any man-made influence, introduced species or modern day noise pollution, and created what seems like a timeless soundscape. It could well be the same soundscape that existed long before Australia was colonised.
Sound does not exist in a vacuum, actually or metaphorically and that is especially true when imagining the lost sounds of the past. Jay-Dea López is not only in tune with the lost sounds of Australia but also with the cultural echoes associated with those sounds, sounds so unfamiliar to the first colonisers that they assigned them to the margins. 'The Great Silence’ was a term formulated to describe the way in which these early colonisers heard the Australian soundscape but when ‘silence’ was equated with ‘empty’ it became a justification to expand into aboriginal land and the whole cultural landscape changed.
In ‘The Great Silence’ Jay-Dea López captures both the timeless natural sounds of Australia and their resounding cultural echoes in a characteristically sensitive and engaging way."
— Des Coulam
Simon Whetham | UN AÑO TRANQUILO
"Throughout 2012 Simon Whetham embarked on a round the world tour, one man travelling across land, sea and air to gain new sensory-filled experiences.
"Un Año Tranquilo" is the result of Simon’s year-long journey; his adventure into, not only sonic landscapes, but also into an intensely personal experience, one that brings together emotion and empathy with place, though is not restricted to location.
A cavalcade of resonant objects, whirring portals, the squarks, clicks and rattles of birds and insects, the honks and snuffles of beasts, and the changeability and ultimate power of the weather, all punctuated by the hustle and bustle of Man and its technology—ancient (bells) and modern (phone rings)—sweep by, swirling the listener into a seemingly trance-like state, an out of body experience.
In this complex and diverse work, Simon has opened a window onto sound’s ability to link a listener to place (be that an earthly reality or an imagined place), as well as to separate us from the world, freeing the listener to explore a sensory imagination beyond sound.
Where possible, listen to this work in the dark—remove yourself from your own reality—and step into Simon’s care-worn shoes. Open yourself to a journey of the mind, your ears as compass…"
— Helen Frosi
Annea Lockwood | A SOUND MAP OF THE HOUSATONIC RIVER
"I am fascinated by the multi-layered complexity of the sounds created by fast flowing rivers and have been exploring them for many years. An aural scan is a different experience from a visual scan - more intimate, I find. The energy flow of a river can be sensed very directly through the sounds created by the friction between current and riverbanks, current and riverbed.
This is a sonic map tracing the course of the 224 km Housatonic River, from the sources in the Berkshire mountains of Western Massachusetts to the river’s mouth at Milford, Long Island Sound (Connecticut, USA), recorded both at the surface and underwater, not from boats but along the riverbank at many sites, thus mirroring the changing river-created environment. I recorded using a Sound Devices recorder, a Shure VP88 microphone and an Offshore Acoustics hydrophone very kindly lent to me by composer Maggi Payne. Processing is minimal: some equalization was applied in the quieter sites."
— Annea Lockwood
Scott Sherk | NEW YORK GLYPTIC
"I was walking through midtown Manhattan two days ago, listening to the great turbulence of the city with fresh ears, after listening to Scott Sherk’s ‘New York Glyptic’. Live, the foreground was sharp and full of variety, but fleeting, and this aspect of the city’s soundscape often dominates in audio portraits of New York. In Scott’s beautiful work street life arises, then dissolves into extended textures stretching the city, like bubble gum, then he snaps back into close focus and I once more hear the tremendous energy pouring from mouths and feet.
While walking, when my mind drifted and refocused on my schedule etc., the soundscape around me merged into a complex shifting hum, and I realized that for me, his portrait also oscillates between those two states, external openness and interiority. By the end, he has dissected and recaptured that multi-layered hum, which is like the air, omnipresent."
— Annea Lockwood
"Frédéric Nogray explores the world with the utmost care, he offers us here a sound diary of a trip in Honduras, oneiric yet so close to reality. In this skrinking environment, where someday the mangrove will be shattered by motorways, where the Garifunas people suffer and get rare, although they never endured slavery; indeed, we know it since Claude Lévy-Strauss hammered it into us: tropics are sad, and each time we come, we pare down their territory.
It is in a full awareness of this that Frédéric Nogray went there, as a heedful watcher of in situ species, he could roam before setting any microphone; therefore this disc is a condensate of this observation, a precious contemplation that graces our ears.
Rare moments are yielded, a fragile equilibrium between luxuriant life and transformation of life, where territory issues get solved by jaws. Frédéric Nogray works the soundscape as a gathering of many elements, birds and insects obviously, sometimes even mankind, as to recall us that there is hardly any place in this world free of sound pollution, but rather than ignore or reject it, he chooses to make it a true ingredient of his work, as to better sublime it's beauty, and fragility."
— Flavien Gillié
"With Buiti Binafin, I discovered a whole new dimension of the natural sounds that are part of my daily life in the village of Triunfo de la Cruz, home to the Garifuna people. It was a unique exploration of sounds and fine details that my bare ears cannot always capture empirically.
Frédéric Nogray's album zooms the melody of an intimate world that we both entered as silently as possible in search of these natural treasures. I must say, Buiti Binafin is a special opportunity to let the conquered sounds display their own form of art and uniqueness. Beauty and awareness go together as we visit a living universe captured in this original ensemble.
I'm grateful to Frédéric Nogray's wonderful idea to have come to the village where I'am conducting an anthropological research on the Garifuna spirituality. His project of eco acoustic recordings expanded my vision upon the place where I have been living, and gave me as well, a better understanding of the relationship between the Garifuna people and the natural world. A world, that is mainly feared for being not only the home of dangerous creatures, but also for being the cradle of threatening spiritual entities.
As an anthropologist, I undertake a great effort to be as close as possible to the indigenous exegesis. I shall say, this experience was a successful way of changing the perspective of my own vision of man and nature, allowing me to grasp clearly the existence of different ways to read the world around us.
Between mangroves and tropical forests, I have never felt so close to the heart of the earth."
— Marcella Perdomo
Michael Trommer | HTO
"The title 'HTO' is a reference to the chemical composition of water, as well as to Toronto's nickname of 'T.O.'.
The pieces on this album are composed of field recordings sourced from the city's urban waterfront, buried rivers and vanished shorelines.
The majority of urban Toronto rests on the bed of what was once Lake Iroquois - a large glacial lake that has become what is now Lake Ontario. Many rivers still run through the urban core, but have been buried in order to aid urban development; ventilation shafts, the remains of bridges and evidence of ancient portage trails still dot the city's landscape, serving as reminders of our geographical history.
Much of Toronto's present-day waterfront is landfill and extends almost 1km from the original shoreline; it is characterized by rapid urban development (at this time, the city has more high-rises under construction than any other city in North America, many of these being built along the lakefront), and the once extensive railway corridor - now shrinking to make room for large-scale condominium developments. Offshore from the downtown core, one finds Toronto Island, now mostly parkland, but dominated (both geographically and acoustically) on the western side by City Centre Airport. Further out is the Leslie Spit, an large (5km), man-made peninsular extension of the shoreline comprised of urban rubble and material excavated during the creation of the Toronto subway system. Though it is now a parkland, its shores are still being expanded and one can find all manner of urban detritus there, including the remains of demolished office towers and factories.
The pieces that comprise 'HTO' are meant as a sonic exploration of Toronto's water-related history. Many locations were revisited many times over the course of the last few years with a view to examining seasonal variations and the effects of urban expansion upon the soundscape. A particular focus has become the use of man-made resonant objects/spaces as well as the exploitation of the effect of the landscape - particularly open water and parkland - to emphasize their natural filtering effects upon the sound.
Audio was recorded using a variety of techniques and equipment, including contact, hydrophone, binaural, induction, and boundary microphones; extensive use of layering has been made in order to examine the sonic variations inherent in both the locations themselves as well as the contrasting recording techniques.
In some cases, the pieces were arranged 'live' in the locations where the field recordings were made - a direct response to the visual and acoustic environment."
— Michael Trommer
David Vélez | EL PÁJARO QUE ESCUCHA
"El Pájaro que Escucha is a beautifully crafted publication that brings together field recordings made in the Palomino region of Columbia in January 2012. The piece is alive with the sounds of wildlife, completely immersing the listener in a sonic landscape that has depth, variation and a subtle radiance that is a joy to experience.
At times we are also reminded of the invasive presence of human beings, with the drone of a light aircraft pervading the natural atmosphere. Velez demonstrates an acute awareness of the beauty found in the natural world, focusing primarily on the sounds of animals that call the rainforest home. El Pájaro que Escucha does not rush the listener, but rather encourages patience and an appreciation for the natural sounds of our planet. This is a stunning release of the highest calibre and comes highly recommended."
— Cheryl Tipp
"This work that David Vélez presents us …is a sense that David Vélez finds as exteriority, in the jungle of Palomino…what we listen are not birds singing, or the crickets squealing, or the leaves moving; it’s David who plays his tune through the birds and the crickets from the Palomino territory; he manages for the referred songbird to become an act of listen…
… David shares with us is a sensible experience, which consists in transform sound making into sound listening; and it is through the possibility of the recording that this experience is modulated to be accessible for us. Is through this mediation that the author makes audible something in the exterior, approaching the natural element to what is being heard by the human.
The act of listening is therefore, a transference of sense through the sonority of the environment, and in this case also a way to experience an environment by recording, ordering, modulating and presenting it in this way that David Vélez considered as the most appropriated.
“El pájaro que escucha” is a cultural approximation to the natural. There is no birdsongs without hearing and no acoustic experience without sensible language."
— Trixi Alina
Steve Roden | BERLIN FIELDS
"Berlin Fields is a sonic journey not limited by national boundaries, city limits, or material limitation. Roden perambulates, recording as he goes with the immediacy and quirks that come from using both portable recorder (a Sony PCM-D50) and phone. Exploring intuitively, Roden brings together 19 sonic vignettes via “finds”: things discovered; and “activation”: objects performed on site.
Using intuition as a guide, Roden's interactions and sonic interventions – “play” in every sense of the word – are both learning tool and platform for his creativity. Unearthing a vocabulary spoken by quotidian things, Roden coaxes tables, radiators, sardine tins and all manner of chanced upon paraphernalia into speaking their curious and complex language. Mindful of Rolf Julius' artistic philosophy, Roden introduces performances that sit congruently within, and do not disrupt, the sites he happens upon on during his travels through the capital cities of France, Germany and Finland.
The land- and cityscapes, formal architecture and informal spaces Roden explores act as host for his interventions. Instead of simply absorbing his bodily movements and thought process, such places create a consonant dialogue with his soundings, saturating their own particular sounds – indeed atmospheres – within Roden's wanderings.
Roden is both player and listener in a world sounding with music, and musical with sound. His actions are delicate insertions that proliferate: actions, soundings, reactions that spread into, echo, and synergise with the world. His performances activate the specific place, space and object with microscopic precision – the knowledge of a shaman. Ripples of tone singe the edges of a bird-filled landscape bestowing it a glowing aura; rhythmic motions on cavernous metal are “touched by hands”, jam jars are caressed across tables to intone chanting, a poetry of sorts. Such soundings act as a bridge, directly connecting body (and being) to location; a marker for experience.
What is evident in Berlin Fields, is that Roden respects the sonic world around him. He is playful, mischievous perhaps, but most of all he listens with the ears of the ancient, the sacred. His motivation, simply, is to work with situations and sounds that move him – that teach him something new or different – that in turn drive him on to explore new environments, situations, objects and the places they inhabit.
Ultimately, Roden brings one closer to an intimate world of reverie – an aural terrain that heaves, resonates, clips, scrapes, chimes and drips a mystical, ancient language."
— Helen Frosi
Craig Vear | ESK
"ESK is a sound poem tracing the flow of the River Esk from source to sea (North Yorkshire National Park to the North Sea). It was recorded in reverse order starting at the very end of the outer harbour wall in Whitby, taking backwards steps through winter, spring and summer towards the source of the Esk upstream of Westerdale; here a series of becks known as the Esklets merge to form the river. As far as possible this poem is told from the river's perspective, initially using hydrophones and then air mics. With the acquisition process finished the poem is then composed in order of flow, travelling back in time from Dale to coast, spring to winter, moorland ecology to busy harbour; beck to river to sea through 6 sites of special scientific interest."
— Craig Vear
Hiroki Sasajima & Takahisa Hirao | HIDDEN BIRD'S NEST
"With the aptly named "Hidden Bird's Nest" Hiroki Sasajima & Takahisa Hirao, all senses in alert, commit an uncommon dive into Nature's breathing Heart, the clamor of the world...
Purity is often usually a simple idealistic abstract notion - not here ; all sounds seem to have been captured in such a pristine way and in such full details that it seems to exceed the limitations of faithful reproduction...and one gets the feeling that suddenly the whole Cosmos is almost enclosed in a single resonance just in front of your ears...
Distance becomes abolished, and it's like if the listener is invited to become a vibrating & active part of the selected location...
Each sound has its own weight, color, placement and is the exact reflection of what it stands for...the restitution of an essence into all its components...
"Hidden Bird's Nest" should cross time easily, offering a veneer of permanence, while being an ultimate testimony of the magnificent Togakushi region..."
— Daniel Crokaert
David Michael | SHANGRI-LA
"David is a member of a new cadre of nature recordists springing from the mileu of "soundscape art" and "acoustic ecology." Informed by soundscape pioneers such as Murray Schafer (who coined the term soundscape) and strongly influenced by contemporary soundscape artists such as Francisco López (who emphasizes his own brand of profound listening), David approaches nature recording from many different perspectives.
Like a true sound artist, David carefully chooses recording locations and pays great attention to the placement of his microphone so that the resulting mix is easy on the ears. His binaural microphone setup attests to his attention to detail. Derived from Rob Danielson's PBB2N design (which is based on Mike Billingsley's Stereo Ambient Sampling System), the setup produces richly spatial recordings that sound superb over speakers and headphones alike.
All this attention to detail shines through in David's stunning new production, Shangri-La (an earthly paradise), presented both in short-form (a one hour "Twilight" excerpt) and long-form (a full ten hours from dusk through dawn). The setting is the edge of a northern marsh in Seney National Wildlife Refuge, located in Michigan's Upper Peninsula."
— Lang Elliott
Pierre Gerard | ENVIRONMENT & gesture
"I would like to improvise with the most minimalist element, which shares our everyday life each minute when we are there. This improvisation does not come in a domination of the one on the other, but in an integration. Hoping that the sound which I produce would have been able to be without my participation.
I would also love that this work infiltrates into a notion of time, temporality. No as a fear of to see it to fly away, but as a soft impression of to feel it to slide. In this exercise the presence of the movement allows a sound, this sound gives an acoustic presence to the author, to the actor, to the musician. The produced sound is only the result of the movement. The movement has its resonance own, its particular light touch."
— Pierre Gerard
John Kannenberg | A SOUND MAP OF THE EGYPTIAN MUSEUM, CAIRO
Reflections and Transformations
"Fifteen minutes into John Kannenberg's extended, hour-long sound map of the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, the setting subsumes the sound. More to the point, the setting becomes the sound. His sound map is constructed from field recordings he made in and around the museum, and the museum at that moment moves from structure to participant, from frame to portrait, from context to subject.
Voices had been heard up until that point, a rumbling and slow-moving pack of adult humans, but those voices are suddenly transformed, dramatically, at the quarter hour. The rapturous transformation is, presumably, the result of the architecture. The human voices are no longer discernible as such, and instead congeal into a chaotic frenzy as their sound is reflected off some hard, high, voluminous ceiling.
Something about that ceiling, arched and closed in by thick walls, absent of anything with absorptive characteristics, no fabric or wood, shoots the collected voices around like balls in a pachinko game, all the sound scattering and intersecting with such speed that it becomes a single thick blur of noise, resplendent noise.
That description of cause and effect is entirely conjecture, of course.
The recording is solely audio, and we do not know for certain what we are hearing. We don't know how many people, if they're adults, or what the characteristics of their environment is at that moment. Much as a passing bus can be mistaken in our own daily life for a child's cry, we do not know exactly what these sounds are, or what is transforming them. It is a fact that the shape and constituent parts of a building will enact changes on the sounds emitted within it -- but it is no less true that our knowledge of the place frames how our ears and brains perceive the sounds, lends them meaning, fills in the considerable gaps in our factual knowledge. This hour-long montage of field recordings is an illusion of reality, an illusion during which Kannenberg plays with our imaginations.
The key word above may not be "transformation" or "architecture," but "reflected." It's a word we're more likely to associate with light than with sound, and thus is the perfect fulcrum point for Kannenberg's art, the art of the phonographer actively challenging the photographer for the primacy of the senses."
— Marc Weidenbaum
Simon Whetham | CONNECTION
"Compositions based on field recordings always raise a number of questions in my mind, particularly regarding the relation between the recorded sounds and their connection to the location or place where they were captured. This is particularly so with places I am familiar with as is the case with this work. Having visited and worked in Prague a number of times in the last decade I was curious to know if some aspects of Simon Whetham's sonic explorations of Prague would trigger any of my memories or associations with with the city. While this is not my primary goal in listening to this work the tendency to seek a personal connection is there. Yet, listening to 'Connection', I am also reminded of Whetham's previous works and live performances. There is a certain characteristic feeling of drifting in the compositional structure that reminds me of the process of field recording itself, of wandering, tuning in to a place seeking out unique sounds that resonate with ones own ears. Often, the urban sound hunter is confronted with a surplus of noise (in the literal and metaphorical sense), from which the challenge is to extract some meaningful signal. This can happen either through perceptual awareness or chance occurrences that come out of the event space of a transitory mode of exploring which is certainly a theme in 'Connection'. We get glimpses of transport that suggest the pace of the city through footsteps or the mechanical rumbles of trams and trains. We drift in and out of these hints of the familiar into passages of abstracted resonances layered over subtle beds of near silence suggesting distant echoes of visited spaces. Yet, the question remains if the sounds communicate something inherently characteristic of Prague or are we exposed to a process of decontextualization that offers a frame no less familiar than the foreign artist who is a temporary visitor hearing the city with new ears. In returning to the issue of work based on field recordings I ask, what is it then that we hear in this piece? Is it meant to be a representation of the original location or event itself or a decisive interpretation the composers impressions and experiences. When listening more carefully the answer for me is both. The deeper 'Connection' here is the inseparability of the artists own process and the context in which he works. The overall experiences, sonic discoveries, editing decisions and composing methods is no less real than what we hear, be it abstract or representational. We are offered an ideal form to listen in to a complete process, beginning to end, from personal exploration to public output. My own reflections draw me in through a shared interest in such sonic travelogs and a desire to hear more as well as create more myself."
— John Grzinich
Mathieu Ruhlmann & Banks Bailey | ANÁÁDIIH
"Within each location, there is profound history. From their first collaborative album, artists Mathieu Ruhlmann and Banks Bailey have created an album that is not only a record of detailed documentation and imagination, but a depiction of a time and place, which also represents an idea, and maybe more importantly, a future. Details have been so meticulously collected and arranged accordingly, that momentarily, everything is illusory, yet retaining completion, and full realism.
Inspired by a Native American Navajo writing, natural material remains one of most important contributions to Ruhlmann and Baileys' work. As is present in both of their musical histories, the heart of the recordings are captured and documented from these
collections of nature and real objects, a truth instead of any other means. The title of the album, 'Anáádiih', is the Navajo word which describes the phase of the moon disappearing. Any moment of these recordings could be mistaken as a complete, straight recording from a desert hilltop, a crackling fire in the center, with a world of action and life surrounding in every direction, pouring life and spirit into each moment.
Yet, even with its incredible realism and depicted respect of true documentation by these two sound collectors, there is a voice that comes through, which surpasses even the recorded vision. These pieces of music not only document realism, but they are abound in enigmatic imagery. Insects buzzing, horses whimpering, overhead thunderstorms, and coyotes howling. There is movement, there is work. Little can it been seen in nature of development, or of time passing, except in long term. Yet, from this work, it can be understood of one of the most important aspects of nature: the results from the capability of our imagination; seeing and hearing those things that are otherwise invisible, or overlooked, and what we find inside."
— Will Long
Ákos Garai | BARGES & FLOWS
"It is dawn by the Danube. The river is flowing quietly. There are only a few moored ships, and many empty docks.
No movement? No sounds? It is quite the opposite. From close-up, you can hear the docks and their vessels sing their own rusty songs incessantly. I find a place and set up my recording equipment.
The purpose of these unprocessed field recordings is to introduce the harbor sounds along the riverbank of the Danube. Some areas are filled with people and ships on a daily basis, while others are only visited occasionally or never at all.
I collected these field recordings in the autumn of 2010 in Budapest, Hungary."
— Ákos Garai
Hiroki Sasajima | SUIKINKUTSU
"Suikinkutsu is recorded in "Stalactite grottos of Nippara" at Tokyo Okutama.
"Suikinkutsu" is a decoration of a Traditional Japanese garden.
"Suikinkutsu" is usually put in the Japanese garden, however, it is unusual for it to be put in stalactite grottos.
Drop of water to run down from stalactite at random plays these metallic sound.
Sound echoed with a bottle buried in the underground, amplifies it more by the grottos. It is a particle of the beautiful sound that is meditative in deep quietness..."
— Hiroki Sasajima
Mark Peter Wright | INANIMATE LIFE (a catalogue)
"Inanimate Life is an ongoing audio catalogue, initially conceived whilst making a series of field recordings along the North East coast of England in 2006. For anybody who has walked, swam, sat or indeed attempted to record in these exposed conditions, they will be all too familiar with the experience of blustery coastal winds. During one such excursion I stood for some time watching and listening to seagulls drift on unseen and unheard thermals of air. I became fascinated by the intangibility of wind and its effect on physical objects.
All around me seagulls were supported, pulled and caressed in suspended flight, sand was shaped and whipped into the air, coastal marram grass trembled and Victorian hand railings wailed.
This inaugural installment features some of natures most complex and vibrant audial worlds; including the creaking roots of wind blasted heather, the playful gusts that animate giant oak trees and the wailing drones that resonate along wired fencing.
Inanimate Life examines these delicate thresholds in our environmental, auditory perception and unveils a world teeming with sonic activity. The catalogue offers a moment to settle upon these events and in doing so, settle the ear upon the elusive, often fleeting phenomena of sound."
— Mark Peter Wright
Scott Sherk | THE TRANSPARENCY PROJECT
"I have become very interested in the ambient sounds of interior spaces. As a sculptor I am aware of space as a plastic medium, but also acknowledge the difficulty (and mystery) of its intangibility. The sounds in this recording are of energetic, social activities within a long corridor-like space with a high cathedral ceiling. It is an arts building designed by architect Phillip Johnson in the mid 1970’s. I like the resonance of the hard surfaces and the way the sound bounces around eventually obscuring the sources of those sounds as an aural cloud takes shape.
The piece reaches a crescendo with the arrival of a crowd. When the group departs, we are left with the space and, finally, the sound of the space, itself."
— Scott Sherk
Rod Cooper | ACCEPTING THE MACHINES
"The landscape is not a new theme in the arts and music is no exception. No matter what themes an artist uses to draw attention to their work and ideas to the audience, the dominant message is still about the artist. Wether or not the artist succeeds in communicating external ideas via their transmissions to the audience, is open to much interpretation. For me Accepting The Machines was about combining many musical thoughts that would other wise have stayed as singular ideas or sonic experiments locked into a particular aesthetic or style.
There are many landscapes in these recordings some rural, some urban. Sites include my home in Melbourne, Australia, where I recorded in an empty factory shell, my back yard, workshop and studios. My beach house on the coast of southern Victoria provides me with access to an estuary system, rivers, forests and farmland.
Because I work across many art forms such as sculpture, painting, music and instrument building, its easy to categorise each separate practice, a system which I use to help me adapt from one body of work to the next.
I ask myself, "what is the connection between these different folios?, the answer is my mind". So I then ask myself another question, "why do I make up rules about how I should express myself? Shouldn't I just enjoy the freedom of expression with out making up rules or following codes pf practise?" To truly follow one's instincts is not easy. Teaching influences, learning and study effect this process also.
Building portable instruments that I could carry into any potential recording location was a good decision for me during the creation of Accepting The Machines. Their simplicity and crudeness changed the way I played to the microphone, less musical and more intuitive. Playing onsite rather than overlaying separate recordings from the studio environment and landscape puts me into a different state of mind. You have to cope with the landscape where everything is not at your fingertips. It has taken me a while to appreciate digital technology; having a preference in the past to work in a more acoustic dominated aesthetic, even though I experiment with and love electronic sounds.
My main instrument is a tubular frame that holds a Styrofoam box resonator against a long steel wire and spring. The frame is hammered into the earth and the wire or springs are stretched out along the ground or attached to an existing structure. Sound travels into the styro box via these resonating materials. I also use small amps and tape decks to transmit electronic sound and vibrations through the box walls.
Anoher instrument is an 8 meter long vertical aeolian string, again with a foam resonator.
I may stay in one place for hours or return repeatedly until I capture the moments I am working toward, when the winds, birds, branches, surf and noises are all working together. The computer helps me do the rest.
Humans are not only species on the planet to make music."
— Rod Cooper
Lasse-Marc Riek | HABITATS
"The work at hand, "Habitats", deals with habitats, areas and living spaces. In this particular case, these spaces were created from a pool of acoustic field recordings I realised while in Finland in Spring of 2007. Over the course of the past year, I have, for various reasons, increasingly been absorbed by the sounds emited by nature. The piece researches the interplay between natural elements on the one hand and passages I arranged at a later stage on the other. It deals with directional hearing and of course with the vast array of bird voices - as well as the silence one can detect in between all of these different sound sources."
— Lasse-Marc Riek
Ákos Garai | PILIS
"Pilis is a sacred place. Bound north we leave the big city Budapest behind and we find ourselves surrounded by wonderous mountains and natural habitat. The Pilis mountain is located on the right bank of the Danube between Budapest and Esztergom. Its highest peak is only 756 meters, however, the scenery is picturesque. The beauties of nature, the fresh forest air, and the presence of positive energies this area are sought by many visitors. A big portion of the area is protected as a National Park, with numerous bicycle and hiking trails. In April 2009 I began my hike from the highest point of Pilis, and descended slowly.
I was accompanied by a charming stream of clear water all the way. As we walk through the forest and listen to the sound of the small stream, with each step, we arrive into different worlds and see, hear, and perceive the surrounding nature accordingly. I could not describe why "there and then": when I felt like, I stopped, sat down and recorded the sounds of the stream and the environment. Later, when I listened and selected these field recording tracks at home, I decided that I'll compose various computer generated layers in addition.
In time, these layers transformed into sonic thoughts in brackets inspired by the original field recording tracks and the wonderful memories of the hike. This was the birth process of a flowing, self re-creating and re-analyzing, yet coherent composition. A relentlessly meandering and laughtering auditory flow: a second hike to the Pilis."
— Ákos Garai