"An arbitrary succession of more or less irritating sounds"
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Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Desolate drainage



To these ears Simon Scott's Below Sea Level package for 12k is one of the year's key releases - not just a stand-out album of glowingly warm, densely textured excursions into landscape & memory (stream the radiant __Sealevel 2 below), but also a hugely impressive 80-page book of thoughts & photography that shore up an increasingly fragile environment, if only by expressionist preservation. Out today...


"The inspiration behind Below Sea Level, including its music, title, artwork and photography (see accompanying journal) originally derives from Scott’s desire to musically explore the desolate and controversial environment of the Fens in East Anglia, UK. The memories Scott has of visiting this area as a child make this a poignant and highly personal project that explores nostalgic familiarity with a desire to capture the musicality of the landscape. For two years Scott ventured into this former wetland with hydrophones and self-built recording devices to explore the land that is cartographically below mean sea level, trace the devastating history of this environment caused by the drainage of the land, and arrange it into conceptual musical and visual project.


Below Sea Level explores the aesthetics of active listening and, via a self-built MaxMSP patch, digitally disects the natural and man-made recordings Scott discovered within the Fens. The juxtaposing of analogue and digital timbres and textures, the man-made and natural world sounds, create epic interwoven soundscapes that blend the recognizable (eg.: birdsong) with undistinguishable sounds, sometimes confusing what is natural and synthetic. Scott presents an abstraction of a place that is arranged and manipulated for aural contemplation outside of the Fens (in alien environments) where the music collaborates with each unique listening environment. For the final stage of Scott’s process he played the mixed songs out of portable speakers and re-recorded them in the wide open spaces and natural ambiences of the Fens to capture the collaborative nature of Below Sea Level. Having these field-recorded sounds; the crows, the passing trains and tractors, recorded in real time with the mixes rather than multi-tracked in the studio provides a strong sense of place and immediacy..."


Pre-BSL playlist (Spotify); recent mix (Mixcloud). 




Simon Scott - __Sealevel.2




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