How does one capture the essence of a landscape so as to describe it to another who has never been there? The vast majority of us would rely on words and pictures, but how many of us would think of trying to do this strictly with sound? Not music, mind you, but sound. That is the unique perspective & artistry of the field recordist and there are few out there as inquisitive, resourceful, and discerning as Kate Carr. She has steadily built a creative practice around exploring both human and natural geographies.using field recording, experimental composition and sonic mapping. Recently during a residency at Joya: AiR in Velez Blanco in southern Spain, she decided to undertake a sonic transect of the mountain facing the villa where she was staying.
Over the next two weeks I lugged my equipment up and down the mountain, pausing every 100 metres to sample or attempt to ‘play’ a very precise and small location. In this way this release attempts to stitch together a mountain pass in sound, a succession of played and recorded sonic niches from the radio in the villa on the valley floor, to the vibrating low-growing woody shrubs braving the rocky peak…It is a quiet and strange document I think, which I hope conveys something about remoteness, and a sense of a physical journey through a very specific landscape via sound.”
The resulting recording, entitled From a Wind Turbine to Vultures (and Back) , consists of 53 minutes of sound evenly divided into two sections – “Ascent” and “Descent”. There are no words, no musical instruments, no pictures, yet it offers an endlessly fascinating portrait of a landscape as vivid and engrossing as one could hope to imagine. In this way, Carr allows us to sense altitude, wind speed, the texture and density of the ground beneath our feet, as well as the proximity, composition and resonance of objects around us. By moving steadily through the transect line, she ensures that the narrative constantly changes and evolves. This is an album you will want to listen to on a good pair of headphones with the volume turned up sufficiently to register every detail. Even seated safe and warm in a cozy chair, by the end you may feel the need to scrape the mud from your boots and warm yourself by the fire in the afterglow of the journey.
From a Wind Turbine to Vultures (and Back) is now available from Carr’s Flaming Pines label on both digital cassette.