A Sense of Place: Tiny Portraits on Flaming Pines


Flaming Pines label founder Kate Carr has developed a highly regarded and multi-faceted creative practice “centered on articulating the relationship between people and place through sound”. In addition to her own sound work, she has curated a variety of wonderful conceptual series, the latest of which has seemingly unlimited potential despite its ostensibly diminutive name – Tiny Portraits.

In Listening to Noise and Silence, Salomé Voeglin talks of soundscape compositions occupying a site ‘between preservation and invention’ – an attempt by the composer or field recordist to retain the essence of a site inevitably results via the processes of recording, composition and listening in the creation of somewhere new. Tiny Portraits asks each participant to dwell on these connections and disconnections between sound and place, representation and invention by starting somewhere small, somewhere overlooked or obscure, and to interrogate this site using sound. – Kate Carr

The launch of Tiny Portraits features four simultaneous releases. Each portrait is available as a digital download or a 3-inch CD with art by Carr herself and the project is presented in a striking interactive site developed by musician and digital artist Arash Akbari with a rotating globe that lights up over each location that has been selected. In turn that light is a hyperlink to a page with the details of the track, the chosen location, and the artist’s synopsis.

Tiny Portraits Interactive Sitehttp://www.flamingpines.com/tiny-portraits


Yuco – Marine (Shikenjima, Japan)

A small volcanic Japanese island in the Philippine Sea called Shikenjima is the destination chosen by Japanese duo Yuco. ‘Marine’ immerses us in a blissful torpor of gently lapping waves, shimmering ambient textures, and organic percussion to recreate this lesser-known jewel that sits just less than 100 miles south of Tokyo.

Sound Awakener  – Nocturnal Scenes (Hanoi, Vietnam)

Sound Awakener (solo artist Nhung Nguyen ) presents us with an urban landscape captured on a street corner of Hanoi, Vitenam. In ‘Nocturnal Scenes’, she blends a familiar hubbub of city sounds with ambient sounds and effects until it begins to sound almost like a hive bustling to a circular rhythm – both familiar and otherworldly at the same time.

Zenjungle – My Childhood is my only homeland (Athens, Greece)

Phil Gardelis, aka Zenjungle, presents a more abstract portrait in which he summons memories of Kalliga Square in Athens, Greece where he played as a child. ‘My Childhood Is My Only Homeland’ refers to a slogan written on the walls there. On the track he uses a rich milieu of guitar, piano, and saxophone to create an effusive and poignant nostalgic reflection.

Siavash Amini – Luminous Streams of Dawn (Tehran, Iran)

A quiet park in the heart of Tehran is the location chosen by Siavash Amini for ‘Luminous Streams of Dawn’. A babel of bird calls and the shrill scream of scrapping foxes cuts the still air as a rich and emotive ambient drone slowly rises and floods the piece with warmth and light.

The concept here strikes me as kindred in spirit to another project for which I have a great fondness, Matthew Pericoli’s “Windows on the World” in which great writers from around the globe prosaically describe a view from a window where they live or work accompanied by one of Pericoli’s sketches. Each in their own way is brilliant at conveying a sense of place – not just a recreation or representation, but an interpretation in the context of personal experience and mindful observation. Tiny Portraits offers a deep well of inspiration that is beautifully conceived and executed. Hopefully this is the beginning of much, much more to come.


Listen to ‘Luminous Streams of Dawn’ by Siavash Amini