“Words act as compass; place-speech serves literally to en-chant the land – to sing it back into being, and to sing one’s being back into it. – Robert Macfarlane, “Landmarks”
Place Language is an international non-profit compilation album project inspired by the themes found in Robert Macfarlane’s widely-acclaimed book ‘Landmarks’. In particular it focuses on the book’s extensive topographic glossaries, the “word-hoard” of depictive landscape terms gathered from 30 different languages, dialects and sub-dialects around Britain & Ireland which are divided into sections by type of terrain (Flatlands, Uplands, Waterlands, Coastlands, Underlands, Northlands, Edgelands, Earthlands and Woodlands). Relying on these topograms, or “tiny place poems”, as creative prompts, Place Language seeks to inspire a renewed interest in our natural surroundings and reinvigorate our appreciation for the audible textures & patterns that characterize them in keeping with the book’s stated desire to “re-wild” our vocabulary.
The collection features the work of 28 different sound-artists, field recordists, and musicians from around the globe each of whom chose a topogram and recorded an impression of it thus lending new aspects of dimensionality through sound. These selections cover all nine Landmarks glossaries along with place-words of new coinage as prompted by the blank glossary which Macfarlane leaves at the end of the book for readers to fill in for themselves. The end result is a truly global, collaborative survey of place, language, and sound.
The audio tracks created for the album have been mastered by Ian Hawgood (also a participating artist) and packaged in a special letter-pressed booklet for release by UK-based boutique label Fluid Audio with stunning visuals by American contemporary artist Gregory Euclide and a thought-provoking liner-note essay written by Robert Macfarlane himself. All proceeds from sales of Place Language will be donated to War Child, a charity organization that provides relief to children in areas of war and conflict; children without a place of their own.
Release planned for September 2019. Sign up for the Fluid Audio mailing list HERE for updates and ordering information when it becomes available.
Meet The Creators
Click HERE to meet & learn more about each of the 30 creators from around the globe who participated in the Place Language project.
Musical artists: Aaron Martin (USA), Anthéne (Canada), Benoît Pioulard (USA), Bethan Kellough (UK), Celer (Japan), Dalot (Greece), Federico Durand (Argentina), Hakobune (Japan), Hammock (USA), Hotel Neon (USA), Ian Hawgood (UK), Kate Carr (UK), Lawrence English (Australia), Lowercase Noises (USA), Marcus Fischer (USA), Melissa Pons (Sweden), Poemme (USA), Porya Hatami (Iran), Richard Skelton aka The Inward Circles (UK), Siavash Amini (Iran), Simon Scott (UK), Sound Awakener (Vietnam), The Green Kingdom (USA), Tobias Hellkvist (Sweden), Warmth (Spain), Wil Bolton (UK), and Yann Novak (USA).
“The quiet hope of ‘Landmarks’ was to ‘re-wild’ even a little of our available language for landscape, to celebrate and disseminate the extraordinary ‘word-hoard’ of coinages that has flourished historically – but thinned recently – for seeing, naming, and knowing aspects of place and its more-than-human life” – Robert Macfarlane
This is where it all started – the rich skein of natural, lingual, and literary references, the profound lyrical prose and elegant precision of language, the kinship with great landscape writers like Nan Shepherd and Barry Lopez, and, of course, the glossaries. For readers of Landmarks, it is also our own quiet hope that the music and art of Place Language will resonate with you in a meaningful way. On the other hand, if you are not familiar with the book or with Macfarlane’s work in general, we hope this will perhaps be the start of what it is sure to be an enlightening journey and a deeper appreciation of your own natural surroundings.
Read more about Landmarks or order a copy here.
Additional Links and Resources
This event will feature Hotel Neon, Kate Carr, Marcus Fischer, Rafael Anton Irisarri, and Simon Scott and it is where copies of the album will be available for the first time.
An in-depth interview with Robert Macfarlane by Emmanuel Vaughan-Lee for Emergence Magazine‘s June 2019 Language issue. Included in the show is a discussion of the Place Language project and tracks that will appear on the album by Benoit Pioulard, Hotel Neon, and Richard Skelton (as The Inward Circles). See the article for links to listen to the podcast on Apple, Google, Stitcher, Spotify, or TuneIn.
In the September 9, 2019 edition of To Know the Land on CFRU.ca 93.3 community radio, project co-curator & contributing artist Andrew Tasselmyer (Hotel Neon) talks to host Byron Allen about Place Language and premieres album tracks by Hammock, Bethan Kellough, and Dalot.
The word-hoard: Robert Macfarlane on rewilding our language of landscape
(from The Guardian, Feb 2015)