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2018's outstanding listenings

9 essential  albums (& radio programs) based on field recordings re_composition

-Ateh & the astral ramblers- Manja Ristić 

At the end of 2018 I wanted to revisit few listening treats that strongly attracted me and shaped my recent sound art. Emerging from the simple actions or positions, those sounds evolved within the textural environment producing own sonic simulacrum, and were further articulated by almost organic structures defined by closer listening.

The flow of sound is engaging "deeper" brain waves, opens the space for sleep like dynamics, meditation and mind-body altered states.

The sound itself, being field recordings, hydrophone recordings, electricity and instruments (bass guitar, violin, objects, AM frequencies...) carry potent imprints of the places or situations in which they occur. Those sonic memories are creators of the new reality, and are calling to an intimate journey across the vast dreamscapes of subconsciousness.

Please use headphones and listen on low volume.

-Wind 4 - 7- Robert Schwarz 

 Audio. Visuals. Atmosphere. 

The rain sweeps in the season of abundance, the environment caught inside a vast furnace.

Four more exposures of the universal wonder of wind congealing in a compact cauldron. Natural occurring dissonance coincides with manipulated and synthesised currents of air. A bare interior seeming at once empty and brimming with occupation. Unseen mineral walls documented as a spiralling voice of unity.


-Open and Closed Circles- Simon Whetham 


„Mappa invited me to make a work for cassette release. At the time I was putting finishing touches to a work for CD that was the result of 3 years of collection, distillation, presentation and consideration. I had made a conscious decision to stop composing in favour of making work for installation and performance.“

However, the idea struck me to make a 'format-specific' piece. For many reasons the cassette didn't excite me in the same way as vinyl or CD. But then I considered the compact cassette as medium and artefact in various ways – mechanism, magnetism, friction, rotation, failure, repetition, fragility, ephemerality... these keywords instigated a composition process that became 'Open and Closed Circles'.„ SW

-Ramshead- Philip Sulidae 


The basis of these pieces were field recordings made in the Kosciuszko National Park during summer. This national park covers alpine and sub-alpine areas, and as such provides an unusual environment within the typical low lying bushland and desert of greater Australia. It covers the highest peaks on the continent, and as such is a diverse environment that covers everything from heavily wooded valleys and riverways, through to rugged grasslands high above the treeline. There is a similar variation in animal and bird life, whilst the weather is inclement all year round with everything from blazing sun to snow in one day.

However I had no interest in trying to document this environment in a literal sense, rather the approach was purely subjective and perceptual. It is an attempt in mapping and constructing a response, but perhaps also an attempt to build the density and extremities of this environment with a sonic equivalent. I used a light recording rig, preferring to work quickly and informally with a mind to building up a large palette of sounds that would later form the raw ingredients of these sound pieces. I used quite pronounced editing and manipulation to slowly shape them into something with it’s own physicality and mass. Something that hopefully embodies and epitomises these antediluvian and monolithic mountains.


-L’Inaudible- Eric la Casa 

 Creation on air - France Culture 

L'Inaudible, la part manquante du monde sonore.

Mon projet radiophonique est pensé comme un grand récit (sortir du silence), à plusieurs voix, d’un monde sonore qui nous est inaccessible, et le plus souvent inconnu, – une Terra Incognita que les chercheurs s’efforcent de nommer. 

Il explore cette notion de réalité inaudible par le récit qu’en font les invités, en contrepoint d’une trame dense de sonorités, faites d’exemples et d’enregistrements de phénomènes normalement inécoutables. Volontairement ou non, cette part cachée du spectre sonore n’est pas à ranger dans le registre du silence, mais de l’absence. 

Mon récit interroge ainsi l’écoute au quotidien, et notre conscience du monde par la perception. De façon préméditée ou non, nous discriminons une part importante de la réalité sonore : par exemple, involontairement, de par nos limites auditives, ou volontairement, quand nous définissons le MP3 comme une norme (cf Jonathan Sterne ci-dessous). C’est par cette double entrée que la question de l’inaudible conduit notre réflexion au-delà du silence. 

-Stridulations- Pali Meursault 


For stridulations, Meursault confronts recorded and performed sounds, composition and improvisation: field- recordings of animal communication (insects, birds and bats recorded in France, Japan and South America over almost ten years) mix and dialog with the ‘sonification’ of fluorescents tubes.

Both the environmental sound matter composition and the electromagnetic instrument have evolved with performances between 2014 and 2017. Little by little, new recordings were collected and new electrical and electronic supplies were added to the setup. The record is altogether the outcome of that process and a different take on the project, leaving the synesthetics of the flickering lights but embracing the deepness of ‘blind’ listening.

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-Welcome To Nay Pyi Taw-

 Amandine Casadamont - Alexandre Plank 

 ACR - France Culture 

Quand on tend l’oreille, on entend la Chine, premier investisseur du pays. Finalement, tout ça sent le gaz et le pétrole. Qui y a y t-il vraiment sous nos pieds ? Derrière les grandioses façades d’hôtels et les infrastructures nouvelles semble se tramer autre chose : une odeur d’argent sale chasse celle de l’encens et des épices.

Un grand détournement, le coup du siècle, l’illusion est parfaite, 7054 km² de mensonge. Tout se passe là où rien ne semble se passer.

Et au loin, toujours, un mantra envoûtant tourne en boucle, invariable : à la télévision, à la radio ou dans les hauts-parleurs de rue, semblent se perpétuer à l’infini. 

A partir de ce constat,Amandine Casadamont et Alexandre Plank proposent une création sonore composée de sons enregistrés à Nay Pyi Taw, qu’ils ont arpenté durant trois semaines.


Composition entre musique concrète et documentaire qui narre ce qui est en deçà des mots et de l’analyse, qui donne à entendre et à vivre de manière sensible ce qui se joue aujourd’hui dans la capitale d’un pays en pleine mutation et au carrefour d’enjeux stratégiques et politiques majeurs.

-Diapsalmata: A Collection Of Short Works-

 Yiorgis Sakellariou-Tanuki Records 

The title of the collection is inspired by Søren Kierkegaard’s “Diapsalmata”, a series of aphorisms included in his book “Either/Or”.

Based on sounds of electronic signals, chants, insects, birds, wind, rain, closing doors, train stations, watermills and museums.

-In[Core]Wat[t] - Jérémie Mathes 


For the past three years, living in Cambodia gave me the opportunity to visit traditional Buddhist Temples across different areas of the country.

These edifices are dedicated to spiritual practices, studies ,worship and serve as moral and cultural hub for the Khmer People. I‘ve realized a series of recordings inside and around the enclosure of Pagodas in various provinces separate geographically. During an unique passage, I spent a brief time to capture the singularity and atmosphere of each site that I’ve visited. The main central temple, the « vihara », was an anchor point to extend my discoveries to annex buildings, gardens etc…Depending on the topology and acoustic properties of each place, I’ve collected raw elements and hidden sonic matter with variable approaches and techniques. I found it important to integrate in my recordings on location the outskirts of each area, and the interconnection with the local environment. I was interested to have a wide angle of representation of the surroundings. Also, I’ve tried as much as I could to minimize my interaction inside the location with the daily activities, the studies, practices or ceremonies. The sonic fragments captured in the zone of Pagodas, and the converging points from one place has been merged together. All these elements constitute the substrate of each movement inside my piece. My process in my composition has been to interleave the different regions and localities distant spatially. A recombination of disparate moments in a new continuum form as a figment of altered realities, pushing the boundaries of each location, linking the interstices into a ‘sfumato’ of a different perception and remembrance.

In[Core]Wat[t] represents the sum and the trace of my wandering in these specific places, the cross sectional movements from one location to an another, the shift from one state to an other level.

 Stéphane Marin - 05 January 2019 

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