[in]. ERIK DeLUCA
Review by John McEnroe
I have heard and reviewed a variety of hydrophone recordings-based releases through the past two years and it amazes me how artistic experimentation and research can lead to new and surprising results.
[in] is a 2010 release by Florida based artist Erik DeLuca published by Everglade the label that published [re] by Stephen Vitiello in collaboration with Benjamin Broening, Mark Applebaum, John Gibson and Larry Polansky back on on 2006.
[in] is a 40-minute release composed by 9 individual pieces, a format that works quite well for the different individual tracks and for the totality of the work.
On an initial listen one the aspects that I found most interesting here is how the sufrace sounds captured with the hydrophones blend with the underwater sounds, presenting a notion of inside-outside that puts the listener on a very ambiguous and ever-changing place.
On a further listen an aspect that is very relevant is that DeLuca purposely on indadvertedly focused on two kind of sounds: First the sounds produced by a variety of animal species such as crustaceans, fishes, dolphins and snails, and second the sounds of boats and even a cruise ship. It’s impossible not to find a political sense on this formal considerations: we have the animals in one side and the human machinery on the other but we also have them together in some sort of complex coexistence. The effects of human intervention in nature-prevailing environments reflects on a variety of biological aspects that have an echoe in the acoustic end: this echo is what DeLuca successfully and pertinently addressed with his recordings.
The two kind of sounds that the release seems to work around, are captured on a noteworthy manner as they seem to occur way in the foreground: we hear them in such detailed way that we can perceive every little aspect of them in terms of their shapes, textures, friction and movement. This helps for the the listener to be transported to a universe where scales and densities sound in a way they don’t sound like on quotidian listening; the change in the way things sound like derives after a few minutes into a change in the way we perceive things and this is the magic of this release: the capacity to generate in the listener a momentarily change of perception beyond any rational and technical factors.
The political aspect emerges strongly at the end of the release when in 9 the loud and harsh sound of a cruise ship enters the scene to finally fade out. I could say this was articulated as some sort of cautionary tale that warns that doom and gloom awaits for us at the end of the vector line that the technological notion of progress is drawing.
The political and perceptual aspects of this release makes it a very successful one that also rewards the listener with a very compelling formal and aesthetic experience.