Anne Guthrie

Anne Guthrie is an acoustician, composer, and French horn player living in Brooklyn. She studied music performance and composition at University of Iowa, and architectural acoustics at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Her work in electronic music combines her knowledge of acoustics and composition to create layered works of processed field recordings. Her work centers around recordings of urban spaces with unique acoustic architecture, and her processing attempts to exploit these natural acoustic phenomena.

Anne Guthrie
Perhaps a Favourable Organic Moment (Copy For Your Records, 2011)

Picked up on a little buzz surrounding this young sound artist lately, particularly from a rather favourable review in the Wire's Outer Limits section. I don't remember that review giving any mention of Guthrie as a French Horn player, and although it says so right there in her bio, I wasn't expecting it to make an appearance (at least not such a recognizable appearance) here. However, about four minutes into the opening recording of one of Guthrie's urban spaces, the French Horn makes its presence known, transforming the subtle sonic space into something much more overt. The horn emits a lackadaisical tune for five minutes or so, as if played by a busker in the late afternoon on some sunny European boulevard. I'm still scratching my head about this first piece, and ultimately I think the album would have probably faired better without the horn passage.

The rest of the album shines brightly, the second track seeing a much subtler processed approach to the horn, along with layered-in bells and varying harmonics. The third track, entitled Times Center, NYC 2010, is a field recording that remarkably captures the depth of the recorded space. Hundreds of overlapping voices and an array of electronic bleeps and sputters present themselves in numerous depth ranges, so as combined, they sound as if occupying the entire field. Annie Laurie, parts i & ii, conclude the album, the former is a haunting piece for windswept drone and ghostly voice while the latter is an a cappella version of Annie Laurie (I presume), being sung in another of Guthrie's "unique" acoustical spaces.


weird noises said...

Thank you for the lovely review!
I just wanted to make one comment to explain my intention behind the unprocessed horn piece. In this album I wanted to bookend the processed musical works with the original, unprocessed musical material, to show the transition between the two. Thus the French horn track at the beginning and the unaccompanied vocal track at the end.
Thank you again!

a d r i a n said...

ahh, that makes a lot of sense. I like the concept. The tracks were so different from one another I wasn't quite sure.