Here are the two latest editions from the always rightly curated Brussels-based Unfathomless, focused on phonographies, field recordings and other microsounds — both available on CD (limited + special editions) and downloadable via Bandcamp.
Reclaim is broken into three parts. brb>voicecoil (Kevin Wilkinson) collected his organic source material throughout the seasons in various places including: Green belt destruction sites for new developments – Great Park, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK and derelict Farm Buildings – Melmerby, North Yorkshire, UK. The result is quite minimal, scratchy, lush, and completely atmospheric. Rain is so easily seductive in its non-chalant uneven, percussive patterns. It sounds as though Wilkinson was going for the most micro approach possible as his subject is likely only within a square foot or less, though so much happens even within the most intimate of spaces.
The low-grade rattling upon a tin structure, along with the gulley-like gurgle is nicely opposed and crescendos just before being reduced to a much lighter pitter patter and gentle creaking. In between all the natural sounds arises some strange fusion that only comes from mostly untraveled spaces. It’s as though he’s come upon an unknown species in mid slumber, making odd (alien) breathing noises – of course this is likely from the layering of unique textural patterns atop one another. I so appreciate his truism: “history demonstrates that nature has the ability to reclaim its space and return structure to dust“.
This recording is about the nature of nature, its innate power and how it takes volatile man-made structures back to its core. In this way its a tale on impermanence. The cadences here are gentle and raw, mimicking the balance between the elements. One of the best things about this recording, as opposed to countless other examples within the genre of typical field recordings, is that nothing is as it seems, it diverts your attention with pleasing, peculiar distractions. Also, it is far less reliant on the exclusivity of nature itself, and brings the body into the picture to bare witness to the course of evolution.
Tombland is an actual place in Norwich City named for its mass graves as the result of the plague. Jared Sagar has re-envisioned a bit of tragic history with a singular work that ties in the in-situ nature of the place to the spirit of loss. He’s captured the essence of that empty ghost town with a drone, and the wind to complement its stillness. A deep rumble pulses beneath as the cascade of wind builds and fluctuates.
He’s captured something quite haunting, almost as if he’s deploying a ghost box method of spirit communication (EVP). Instead of real voices of the beyond, though, Sagar has managed to pick up tiny detritus on the land, fine crackles and pulses that seem like a mirage. This gathering of evidence from the site boasts an unusual audio phenomena that is specific to time, place and interaction – whether paranormal or not, it offers a bumpy (albeit minimally psychedelic) ride through this terrain.
The highs and lows all are contained within a range courting the deep listening experience. That said, Sagar uses the extent of that range to deliver something altogether unique and dare I say awe-inspiring. There is a reliance on the listener’s perception of a vicarious fly-on-the-wall experience which becomes an incredible phonic cinema. To some extent this involves some level of trust, not because of the maker’s ability to disclose direct happenstance, or even any form of science whatsoever, but because once you let go of part of your senses where will you land? You are in good hands here. Sagar dynamically guides you throughout this existential journey, with granular jostling and airy quietude that takes a minor turn for abstract fragmentation and evanescent industrialism and as it comes to a close.
Two provocative and distinctly unique new takes on our ephemeral environment.