English percussionist Craig Vear, who spent three months in Antarctica in 2003
also a member of improvising duo Ev2 with saxophonist Jonathan Eato,
composed the musique concrete for
Summerhouses (Mille Plateaux , 2010)
by using his field recordings.
The problem with the nine-minute Cravasse Blue is that it is barely
audible. The problem with Jolene, ranging from beats to drones,
is that it feels like a sequence of ideas rather than one organic idea,
although the final "choir" is indeed haunting.
The problem with Repulsion is that it fails to capitalize narratively
on its events, e.g. when bells emerge from the thick wave-like sound.
The elegant bubbling and delicate crackling of Intertidal Pool are
better and more romantic tools for the project of amplifying the microcosm.
The decaying, cracking sound of Ice Esk is positively harrowing
but, again, it is not given narrative space.
Finally, the ten-minute After The Sinking unleashes a loud tragic drone
that radiates many minor drones like subcanyons of a majestic canyon: as far
as "deep listening" goes, this represents the peak of the album.
Vear has mastered the skill of making "sound" out of "sounds" but not the skill
of making "art" out of "sound".
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