Thursday, January 02, 2014
Tarab - atrata (Unfathomless)
A 34-minute excursion investigating the sound properties of vacant lots and nearby areas in North Melbourne, Australia and a typically worthwhile one from Tarab, whose work I've enjoyed since fist hearing his "surface drift" almost ten years ago. Suitably bleak, ranging from a dry, sandy beginning, rising in periodic crests of harsh mixtures of treated footsteps, oceans of insects and birds, dopplering vehicles and, it seems, an enormous supply of other sounds, whipped into vortices of noise. Dryness seems like the operative word for the first half of the work, abetted by deep, booming resonance. I'm intrigued by how hard a time I often have distinguishing between fire and water sounds on field recordings (if not informed one way or the other). I was confused once again for a few minutes here until the liquid nature became apparent (and after confirming that Tarab mentions a creek in his description). These somewhat placid sounds are soon overturned by a roar, possibly the same water cascading through a sheet metal lined, container, I've no idea. Dogs bark in the distance while up close it sounds like people pawing through garbage. It ends with dry steps.
Another strong effort form Tarab, good stuff.
James Wyness - stultifera navis (Mystery Sea)
Wyness conjures up a more pastoral (if somewhat gothic) scene, though cloaked in mist and vapor. Technological sources are utilized but are embedded within the dark echoes and drips. (I admit to assuming the title referred to flora of some sort, not the satire known as The Ship of Fools!) It's one of those processed field recordings that's too wooly and amorphous for my taste, the billowy echoes, drips and muffled clanks combining into a kind of white noise that doesn't quite hold my interest. I kept thinking of the bejeweled grottoes painted by Moreau, attractive at first glance but not yielding more at closer inspection. There's a good deal going on here but it seems to sit still more than flow for its 26 minutes, perhaps Wyness' intention, but I wanted more movement and greater sound differentiation. Your Stygian voyage may vary.