Thursday, December 22, 2011

Patrick Farmer - Like falling out of trees into collectors' albums (Consumer Waste)

The title poses a kind of question, or observation, that I imagine often crosses the mind of those who deal in field recordings: to what extent they're "merely" the recipients of sounds that happen to fall their way. How much of themselves ends up in the recording? Does it matter? Farmer perhaps touches on this in a short essay included here when he writes "that there is everything and nothing to record, to notice, to document".

As ever, with releases as (apparently) "pure" in their substance as this one, that is, bearing little seeming enhancement on the part of, in this case, Farmer, qualitative judgment is something of a fool's errand except insofar as to simply state whether or not the sounds moved me, placed me in a different psychological space, or not. Well, these do. Three recordings: a pond's slowly melting surface--soft water sounds augmented by the occasional airplane; aower lines recorded via mic placement on a wire fence--a beautiful, oddly hollow but complex sound in which you can imagine infinite levels of detail just outside the range of your hearing; a wasp paring away layer of a bamboo cane, the subtlest of the trio and, on disc, almost as fascinating as it might have been to be inside that tube, which is to say, very.

An excellent recording, highly recommended for those with any interest at all in this area.

Jack Harris/Samuel Rodgers - What's that for, mate? (Consumer Waste)

Fine laptop/electronics session, two longish works, each traversing substantial territory in a calm and inquisitive manner. Generally quiet but with a few laser blasts and, better, some unexpected encounters in the form of voices and brief rhythmic patterns. There's an impressive intensity to the calmness, a highly tuned consideration of sounds and sequencing, and a good balance of the gentle and the severe. This grew on me each successive time I listened, a very enjoyable amble indeed.

Ben Gwilliam/Hainer Woermann - cardtape drafts (Consumer Waste)

I believe (I'll doubtless be proved wrong) that this is my first exposure to Gwilliam (tape, magnetics, amplified processes) and Woermann (amplified cardboard, preparations), hopefully not the last.

Yes, amplified cardboard. Excellent.

Four tracks, unhurried but not unbusy, carrying a strong sense of the space in which they were constructed, scurryings, tappings and rubbings buffeting against one another, almost as though blown into contact by a strong breeze. Great balance between liquid sounds and dry ones, the latter most often brought to us via the cardboard, if I'm not mistaken. Not that I expect to see such in everyone's arsenal soon, but Woermann wields it quite ably here. Dynamics are worked wonderfully, elements expand out of the room, into the open, still abristle, ebb to a rumble, wax again toward the end, everything buzzing.

Strong recording; need to hear more from them...

consumer waste


Stephen Cornford said...

Thanks for taking the time to listen to and write about these Brian. I can recommend a couple of discs that Ben is on which were out this year: Lauste w/ Michel Vorfeld on entr'acte and Dots w/ Jason Zeh on Brombon, the first of those would be my pick but both very strong.

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