Ominous Sonographies: Mystery Sea, Unfathomless and Daniel Crokaert -- Part Two

Daniel Crokaert started his U imprint in late 2009 and with 4 publications to date already, it's obvious that Mr. Crokaert is serious about this new endeavor. The Unfathomless releases are printed on cd rather than cdr and Crokaert has opted for a sleeker, slimmer aesthetic, trading in his jewel cases for clear poly plastic ones and opaque inner sleeves. Nicer prints as well, my photos do not do these justice.

While Mystery Sea was a label whose theme bridged on watery dronescaping, Unfathomless is based more on field recording and specific locations, and the artist's personal fascination with these locations. Essentially these recordings are meant to capture the spirit of these particular places where it is encouraged for the artist to use found materials from these locals yielding an organic characteristic to the recordings. A great idea for a record label which has spawned some interesting results.

Mathieu Ruhlmann Tsukubai
I received what I initially thought was a random email in February from Mathieu Ruhlmann. He had heard of the blog and was interested in hearing some music of mine. It wasn't until I realized that he actually lived just outside of Vancouver that it wasn't so random after all. We've become friends and periodically we record together, though unfortunately not as much as either of us would like. Upon our first meeting we exchanged releases, which was a little sad because I ended up with this hefty bundle and he got a single cassette. Stowed within that bundle was Tsukubai, the Unfathomless debut.

The "location" in question is the Nitobe Memorial Garden at The University of British Columbia. I've personally never been there despite spending countless hours in and around the UBC area. Ruhlmann based most of the album on hydrophone recordings, evident throughout as he does little to mask his natural sounds. The tracks unfold with a steady hand and an expert pace, the sign of a man who's done this once or twice before. Gradually, soft-focus drones creep their way in and it strikes me as impressive that Ruhlmann was able to capture it all at this one particular location. The album is made up of 8 tracks seamlessly blended, each one a miniature sound world that varies slightly from the last. Parts VI and VII are stand outs, the former with its chiseling motorifik clatter and the latter sounding like someone making coffee under water. A fine work by Mathieu Ruhlmann paralleling his Fourteen Worms For Victor Hugo and his latest As a Leaf or a Stone.

Luigi Turra & Christopher McFall Tactile.Surface

Tactile.Surface is the reflection of an imaginary place. It is the virtual space created from the culmination and consolidation of recordings from both Turra's living room in the city of Schio (North of Italy) and manipulated tape work with unclear origins by McFall. McFall recites an experience he had of listening to the pieces that were to appear on Tactile.Surface during a 12 hour drive from Kansas City to Colorado, as though the music were playing out as a soundtrack to the desolate landscape and absolute skies. Drawn out dark ambience and palpable textures aptly reflect that setting, resulting in an incredible work that rivals many of the better contemporary practitioners of sonic tactile excursion.

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