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First half of 2012 in retrospective: A few words plus the noteworthy releases listed by The Field Reporter editors

Over the first half of 2012 The Field Reporter reviewed almost 100 phonographic-based releases on its quest to to keep its readers aware of what goes on in terms of this line of work.

Labels like Engraved Glass, Kaon, Impulsive Habitat, Gruenrekorder,
3 Leaves, Unfathomless, Obs, LEA and Green Field released a significant portion of this material which shows an increasing level of specificity in the publication and distribution of phonographic based sound works. We remain surprised that such a specific publication as The Field Reporter is being avidly visited on a daily basis: more people than we could expect care about phonography and musique concrete and about what can be said about sound releases on this line of work.

Anyway what remains as the more important aspect for The Field Reporter, after almost a year of activity, is the action of recording and specifically, the action of listening. Like Bernie Krause said:

“A recorder is a tool for learning to listen without a recorder”

What are we listening to? How are we listening to it? Why are we listening to what we listen? What reflections and questions arise from listening to what we listen to?

We truly hope that The Field Reporter is addressing all these points through its reviews and radio programs.

On 2012 we registered a large number of phonographic releases with recordings captured in wild and rural areas. Somehow we perceive an immanent political sense in the action of capturing sounds as part of a search for natural sounds and as an escape from man-made sounds. The sound pollution problem and its effects on our physical and mental health is on 2012 bigger than ever on what seems like an irreversible process. This aspect reflects on the publication of the report ‘Environmental health inequalities in Europe’ by the World Health Organization which was one of the very significant non-artistic events for the phonographic community through this semester. Even though all the information featured in this report has been of public knowledge over the past 50 years, the fact that an organization such as the United Nations addressees it in a public and official way is a great advance that gives to the noise issue the real dimension and relevance it should have in terms of public health and quality of life.

Another event of importance through this semester was the publication of a study by British Psychologist Eleanor Ratcliffe -from the University of Surrey -on the effect of songbirds in the human brain; this study concluded that:

“A great deal of anecdotal evidence suggests that we respond positively to birdsong.”

Sadly the high levels of noise in large cities are forcing birds to migrate to rural areas while drastically altering the urban sound scape for many of us. The sounds we capture today are not the sounds we will capture tomorrow. This reflection leads us to ponder that these facts of political nature might have to do in part with the quick proliferation of the phonographic action around the globe.

For this retrospective report, we asked our editors to mention releases they found noteworthy through this past semester: these lists hopefully will not only work as ‘phonographic / concrete /electroacoustic music guide for the summer’ but also hopefully will serve to have a notion of what goes on today in terms of phonography and the questions and reflections that are pertinent towards this action and its artistic implications.

-Alan Smithee

>> THE LISTS

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Daniel Crokaert
Field Reporter editor. Manager of Unfathomless and Mystery Sea labels.

Insecta” JEPH JERMAN & FIVE ELEMENTS MUSIC (Still * Sleep)
Aspects. HIROKI SASAJIMA & YUKI IZUMI (Somehow Recordings)
The Fields Remain While The Recorder Has Long Vanished. D’INCISE (Impulsive Habitat)
Drenaje Subterráneo. JUAN JOSÉ CALARCO, PABLO RECHE (Siridisc)
El Pájaro Que Escucha. DAVID VELEZ (3Leaves)
Spectral Territories pt.1. ARTIFICIAL MEMORY TRACE
(Tentacles Of Perception)
Jhirna Jali. PETER CAELDRIES (Gruenrekorder)
H_CS. DARIUS CIUTA (Echomusic)
Mina. DARIUS CIUTA (Green Field Recordings)
Little Jewel. COLLIN THOMAS (Self-Release)

Also
Embalse ( I ). JUAN JOSÉ CALARCO, MANRICO MONTERO,
PABLO RECHE (Impulsive habitat)
Madal Öö. JOHN GRZINICH (Engraved Glass)
Le Trou du Lapin. DALE LLOYD (Kaon)
Entrances. BANKS BAILEY (Quiet World)
Thief. LANCE AUSTIN OLSEN (Infrequency)
Ay. MAAR (Entr’acte)
IIn. DARIUS CIUTA (Nephogram)
Deux Trois Choses Ou Presque. BRUNO DUPLANT (Engraved Glass)
Berlin Fields. STEVE RODEN (Leaves)
Built Through. ROBERT CURGENVEN & RICHARD CHARTIER (Line)
Au Sud. HONORÉ FERAILLE (Audio Gourmet)
Organisms. DALE LLOYD (And/OAR)
Three Days Of Silence. PIETRO RIPARBELLI (Gruenrekorder)
Edgelands. MICHAEL TROMMER (Gruenrekorder)
An Occupied House. D.O.R. (Caduc.)
Colony. HIROKI SASAJIMA (Impulsive Habitat)
Trazado Oculto. JUAN JOSÉ CALARCO (Mandorla)
Gryphaea. CHRIS WHITEHEAD (Observatoire)
South Gare. CHRIS WHITEHEAD (Linear Obsessional Recordings)
Forma Y Percepción. DAVID VELEZ (Impulsive Habitat)
Microclima. PABLO RECHE (Impulsive Habitat)
Taî-pak thiaⁿ saⁿ piàn. YANNICK DAUBY (Kalerne)
Lind, Raud, Aastaajad. YANNICK DAUBY, JOHN GRZINICH,
MURMER (Invisible Birds)
Omnimoment. HITOSHI KOJO(Octpia)

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Flavien Gillié
Field Reporter editor. Manager of Earsheltering label. Sound artist.

Trazado Oculto. JUAN JOSE CALARCO (Mandorla)
H-CS. DARIUS CIUTA (Echomusic)
The fields remain while the recorder has long vanished. D’INCISE (Impulsive Habitat)
Colony. HIROKI SASAJIMA (Impulsive Habitat)
Little jewel. COLLIN THOMAS (self-release)

_____________________________________________

Jay-Dea Lopez
Field Reporter editor. Sound artist. Journalist at Sounds Like Noise.

1. Berlin Fields. STEVE RODEN (3leaves)
This lowercase composer travelled around parts of western Europe and released an album of recordings taken in and around his hotels. Roden’s focus on mundane sounds showed how, with careful sequencing, field recordings can powerfully transmit feelings of isolation and loneliness.

2. South Gare. CHRIS WHITEHEAD (Linear Obsessional)
South Gare is one of a number of releases this year which have focussed on borderlands, areas where industrial and natural zones blur in a state of precarious balance. With the background knowledge that our natural areas are shrinking compositions such as this are truly reflective of the anxiety that pervades the early 21st century.

3. The fields remain while the recorder has long vanished.
D’INCISE (Impulsive Habitat)
A release which almost sounds post-apocalyptic, this is a work whose emotional content exudes a sense of despair. The title of the work beautifully guides the audience into a way of listening.

4. El Pajaro Que Escucha. DAVID VELEZ (3leaves)
Another exquisite release from Velez and the 3 Leaves label. Velez employs exotic field recordings from the coastal forests of Colombia to explore one of the biggest fears facing our planet at the moment, extinction.

5. Somewhere on the Edge. VARIOUS ARTISTS (Gruenrekorder)
A huge release from Gruenrekorder featuring emerging and established field recordists on the theme of places on the edge. Hours of raw and modified field recordings to dip into when the mood strikes.

.

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Ennio Mazzon
Field Reporter editor. Manager at Ripples label. Sound artist.

1. IIN. DARIUS CIUTA (Nephogram)
2. Sonido Descompuesto. DAVID VELEZ (Unfathomless)
3. The Narrows. JODA CLÉMENT (Unfathomless)
4. North North 18:58. JODA CLÉMENT,
TOMASZ KRAKOWIAK, PAU TORRES
(Homophoni)
5. Água da paz. CORDELL KLIER PERFORMS
ERIC LA CASA RECORDINGS
(Impulsive Habitat)

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Cheryl Tipp
Field Reporter editor. Wildlife Sounds Curator at the British Library.

O Rio. LUÍS ANTERO (Impulsive Habitat)
Jhirna Jali. PETER CAELDRIES (Gruenrekorder)
Estonian Strings. JEZ RILEY FRENCH (Gruenrekorder)
Madal Öö. JOHN GRZINICH (Engraved Glass)
Colony. HIROKI SASAJIMA (Impulsive Habitat)
El Pájaro que Escucha. DAVID VÉLEZ (3Leaves)
Somewhere on the Edge. VARIOUS ARTISTS (Gruenrekorder)

_____________________________________________

David Vélez
Field Reporter editor. Sound artist.
Co funder / manager at Impulsive Habitat label

Madal öö. JOHN GRZINICH (Engraved Glass)
Gryphaea. CHRIS WHITEHEAD (Obs)
Taurion, trou de lapin. DALE LLOYD (Kaon)
Silver. RICHARD GARET (Obs)
Jhirna Jali. PETER CAELDRIES (Gruenrekorder)

Also
H-CS. DARIUS CIUTA (Echomusic)
South gare. CHRIS WHITEHEAD (Linear Obsessional)
Glass over water under light. RUI ALMEIDA,
NUNO MIRANDA RIBEIRO
(Green Field)
Emerging territories. LUIS ANTERO, JAY-DEA LOPEZ (LEA)
Mina. DARIUS CIUTA (Green Field)
Drenaje subterráneo. PABLO RECHE, JUAN JOSÉ CALARCO (Siridisc)
Rishikesh. FIVE ELEMENTS MUSIC (Unfathomless)
Little jewel. COLLIN THOMAS (self-release)
Edgelands. MICHAEL TROMMER (Gruenrekorder)
Deux trois choses ou presque. BRUNO DUPLANT (Engraved Glass)
n.RioTau. ARTIFICIAL MEMORY TRACE (Kaon)
Estructura ultravioleta. PABLO RECHE (Siridisc)
Estonian strings. JEZ RILEY FRENCH (Gruenrekorder)
Esk. CRAIG VEAR (3Leaves)
Lind, raud, aastaajad. YANNICK DAUBY,
JOHN GRZINICH, MURMER (Invisible Birds)
Static cinema. MARK VERNON (Entr’acte)
Trazado oculto. JUAN JOSÉ CALARCO (Mandorla)
Berlin fields. STEVE RODEN (3Leaves)
Something to ponder upon for a restless soul like you.
MITES (Mystery Sea)
North, north. JODA CLEMENT, TOMASZ KRAKOWIAK,
PAU TORRES (Homophoni)
Radia. GLENN BACH (Dust Unsettled)
La tierruca. JUAN PABLO MARTINEZ (LEA)
Nothing. ALEJANDRO HENAO (Invisible Valley)

Listened on 2012 from 2011
Taî-pak thiaⁿ saⁿ piàn. YANNICK DAUBY (Kalerne)
Frozen moments. JACQUES SODELL (Kaon)
Acquiescence. TARAB (Kaon)
Four objects. JEZ RILEY FRENCH (Engraved Glass)
Shangri La. DAVID MICHAEL (3Leaves)
Phonography meeting 070823. SCOTT SMALLWOOD, SAWAKO,
SETH CLUETT, BEN OWEN, CIVYIU KKLIU (Winds Measure)
Collection 5. AMT -Slavek Kwi- (Gruenrekorder)

Reissues
The bright work. JEZ RILEY FRENCH (Engraved Glass)

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Chris Whitehead
Field Reporter editor. Sound artist.

Esk. CRAIG VEAR (3Leaves 2012)
A portrait of a river I know intimately and cross every day. The Esk’s many languages are transcribed perfectly.

H-CS. DARIUS CIUTA (Echomusic 2012)
With all external stimuli turned off, there’s no better place to be than inside a Ciuta composition. It takes time though. It takes time.

Radia. GLENN BACH (Dust, Unsettled 2012)
Huge, open American landscapes suffused with the subtlest threads of carefully sculpted sound.

Forma y percepción. DAVID VÉLEZ (Impulsive Habitat 2012)
An exercise in planting seeds from which to grow ideas and images. Beautifully conceived and realised.

Phonography Meeting 070823. SCOTT SMALLWOOD, SAWAKO,
SETH CLUETT, BEN OWEN, CIVYIU KKLIU
(Winds Measure 2012)
A tremendously exciting meeting of very disparate minds, exquisitely presented and executed. Meticulous attention to detail.

Fukushima. ROEL MEELKOP, TAKANO HOSHINO (Obs* 2012)
A document that is impossible to listen to without feeling the reverberation of catastrophe still hanging in the air.

Seatown. MATTHEW SHAW (Siren Wire 2012)
A foggy English seascape that examines something very deep and ancient about our relationship to the liminal area where ocean meets land. From an artist outside the circle.

40.31. MECHA / ORGA (Impulsive Habitat 2012)
Juxtaposition and depth. Nature and industry. Reminds me of the Tees estuary at South Gare, one of my favourite, strangest places to visit.

A While and Awhile. FRANCISCO MEIRINO (Obs* 2012)
Amazing phonography that constantly surprises and delights. Electromagnetical unpredictability of the highest order.

Colony. HIROKI SASAJIMA (Impulsive Habitat 2012)
Insect communication in all its complexity and otherness. There are many other worlds coexisting alongside ours.