Wednesday, December 04, 2013
Jamie Drouin/Olaf Hochherz - Every Ting Thing (Infrequency Editions)
Very, very, very quiet. In the notes to the release on the Infrequency site, Drouin (I assume) mentions borrowing a stethoscope from school at a young age with the intention of investigating the hidden worlds in trees, anthills, etc. (he got as far as his dog). That image, of holding up a sensitive recording device to a thick, opaque object--say, a tree--and just barely registering the sounds within, the termites chewing, the worms softly gnawing, the internal architecture of the tree itself slightly bending and creaking, is a pretty apt one for the experience one has during the hour or so of infinitesimal activity from Drouin and Hochherz. It's extremely easy to forget the sounds are there, to let them simply provide the merest addition to wherever you're listening. The scant chittering (tiny mandibles at work), the bumpy rolling about of an object on a barely resonant surface, the even fainter hums of some exterior world, the imagined gentle trudging of sextets of pincers/feet on sand--all can easily blend in to the point of disappearing. Plus, I'm listening to it as a download on my Macbook, so there's a limit to the volume I can achieve, though I'd say that overly pumping it up would defeat what I perceive to be the purpose. That said, it makes it a hard one to evaluate in the routine sense (not a bad thing!) insofar as concentrated listening goes. I go back to thinking of it as non-intentional natural phenomena, listening in on those trees, with no guarantee of constant "interesting" goings-on, requiring the state of mind to find any activity as inherently fascinating. You find yourself leaning in to the speakers, trying to decipher what you've heard or think you've heard, aware, uncomfortably or not, that you're missing events occurring deeper in. I like it a lot.
And, as always, a beautiful illustration and package design from Lance Austin Olsen.