Audiobulb’s credentials have recently been bolstered by the release of the label’s curator, David Newman’s “Autistici” incarnation on 12k. Never at a loss for instigating highly creative and evolving/involving projects, Newman has brought us a label worthy of further attention.
Favourite Places is essentially an audio diary, examining the audible and conceptual possibilities yielded by each invited artist’s sense of place in their world, inviting them to document and interpret their favourite places in sound, utilising field recordings, and instrumentation. In essence, this is the audible equivalent of a Mark Boyle/Boyle Family art installation, isolating and freezing a specific place at a particular moment in time, fine slivers of reality that can further be preserved, observed and analysed.
The approaches are many and varied, and loathe though I am to review compilations these days, Favourite Places is an exception to the rule. Leafcutter John, Taylor Deupree, and Biosphere all take their place here, being regular, and well documented contributors to compilations elsewhere, alongside other accomplished artists such as Stasisfield’s John Kannenberg, Dot Tape Dot, Claudia, Aaaron Ximm, Build, and Nomad Palace.
There are some interesting and creative solutions here, and Dot Tape Dot take an idiosyncratic recording of the process of washing and bathing, an intensely personal document of domestic activity, that once isolated, and combined with glockenspiel becomes musical, and somehow shamanic. Kannenberg’s field recording of the Great Hall at the British Museum in London places us firmly amongst bustling, yet muted crowds of people and human activity, this then opening out into an expansive, resonating keyboard sequence, that reverberates, and builds, introducing tonal blips and textural shifts, it is quite astounding. Build primarily concentrate their compositional focus on the musical elements of the Robert Moses Causeway that traverses a straight line to the Atlantic Ocean, their piece is a bubbling, effusive, almost techno rendering of their environment. RF, naturally attracted my attention with a minimal interpretation of the Shimogamo Shrine in Kyoto with the sound of each artists’ footsteps on the gravel, overlaid with delicate guitar, and Sawako-like vocals..
All in all, a highly absorbing, and deeply personal set of recordings that would slide neatly between Chris Watson, and the works of R.Murray Schaeffer. Favourite Places encompasses all that is great in compositional field recording..documenting soundmarks, and combining the subjective and highly idiosyncratic, with urban and domestic soundscapes, this is a unique and memorable collection. BGN