Winds Measure Matters – Part 2

And here we have another charming variation in Winds Measure's unprocessed field recording rubric. As the title suggests, Phonography Meeting 070823 saw these five featured phonographers get together to create a unified work. To keep things interesting–as wm releases often succeed in doing–the album was recorded in the context of a live performance, in 10 minute chunks, and consecutively form artist to artist. Upon digging a little deeper it appears there were actually a number of phonography meetings that took place between 2003-2007, as part of the Seasonal performance series in NY. Other meetings included such stalwarts as Richard Garet, Patrick McGinley and Chris De Laurenti.

Scott Smallwood, Sawako, Seth Cluett, Ben Owen and Civyiu Kkliu
Phonography Meeting 070823

I imagine that on this meeting these gentlemen were particularly on their game, as the disc that's made it into my hands is a very fluid and naturally progressing succession of acoustic snapshots. And although it's tempting to follow along and match up each recording chunk with its corresponding phonographer, that task becomes superfluous in the light of this being the work–and sounding like the work–of a collective, and not a bunch of individuals.

To dive in is to soon acquire an understanding of how the recording chunks fuse together. Although there tends to be a simple cross-fading that happens as a piece is "handed off" to the next artist, each performer is free to bring in their personal touch while keeping in mind, of course, the whole picture. The transition near the 4 minute mark is perhaps my favourite part of the entire piece, as an astonishingly compelling recording of water (astonishing because, well, water, like planes, tends to get into almost every field recording session) suddenly cuts to the rattling of wind chimes. The cut is so perfect I missed it the first time, and was soon wondering how and when the sounds shifted so much from the opening phrase. Later, in what I believe are Seth Cluett's and Ben Owen's sections, the sounds really start to gel as layers of contact mic'd micro-noise fluctuations and distorted wind recordings steadily carry the work forward; sounds like some footsteps in there too.

I've only outlined some of the finer sounds, but really there is a whole world to explore within these recordings, some sections melding better than others, and the fidelity varying with each new sound -- something I came to really appreciate about the work. As with all wm output, I recommend this for those seeking more boundary-pushing work in this field.

Scott Smallwood, Sawako, Seth Cluett, Ben Owen and Civyiu Kkliu - Phonography Meeting 070823 (edit) by ScrapyardForecast

1 comment:

Evan Lindorff-Ellery said...

Indeed, there is much to explore on this release. It's one of my favourite's in Winds Measures' catalogue. Finely and eloquently put together. Ben seemed very excited about this one. I'd like to hear more evidence of these projects...