Retrospective article for 2012 PART II (214)


2012 Retrospective post: what our Editors, and some guest artists, curators, journalists and managers think was noteworthy

More texts, lists and notes from our editors and guests.



Daniel Crokaert (works at Unfathomless and Mystery Sea, Editor for The Field Reporter)

SURVIVAL KIT/OBSESSIONS: Impulsive Habitat – Kaon La Rivière series – Darius Ciuta – Artificial Memory Trace – David Velez – Tarab



Alcor. ASTOR (Kye)
Epilog (Recombinant). CHRISTOPHER McFALL (Con-v)
Where Are The Roots That Clutch. MURMER (The Helenscarsdale Agency)
An Accident In Substance. SMALL CRUEL PARTY (Harbinger Sound)
Shards Of Splinters – Fragments Of Scratches/Killastiku – Kriimude Killud. TARAB (Semperflorens)
Débris. JANA WINDEREN (Touch)


Spectral Territories pt.1. ARTIFICIAL MEMORY TRACE (Tentacles Of Perception)
Spectral Territories pt.2. ARTIFICIAL MEMORY TRACE (Tentacles Of Perception)
Sempervirent. RODOLPHE ALEXIS (Gruenrekorder)
Jhirna Jali. PETER CAELDRIES (Gruenrekorder)
Mina. DARIUS CIUTA (Green Field Recordings)
Re-g-z. DARIUS CIUTA (Self-Release)
The Fields Remain While The Recorder Has Long Vanished. D’INCISE (Impulsive Habitat)
If Memory Should Serve Us Again. JOHN GRZINICH (Self-Release)
34:13_Ambeliona. MECHA/ORGA (Triple Bath)
Sept 2012. MICHAEL NORTHAM (Self-Release/Download only)
El Gris En Nuestras Vidas. GIL SANSÓN (Impulsive Habitat)
Recordings Of A Crepuscular Event. PHILIP SULIDAE (Impulsive Habitat)
Little.Jewel. COLLIN THOMAS (Self-Release)
Hto. MICHAEL TROMMER (3leaves)
El Pájaro Que Escucha. DAVID VELEZ (3Leaves)
Drenaje Subterráneo. JUAN JOSÉ CALARCO & PABLO RECHE (SiRiDisc)
Insecta. JEPH JERMAN & FIVE ELEMENTS MUSIC (Semperflorens)
Aspects. HIROKI SASAJIMA & YUKI IZUMI (Somehow Recordings)
Traces of artificial memories. VA -curated by David Velez (Impulsive Habitat)


Ultrealith. ARTIFICIAL MEMORY TRACE (Gruenrekorder)
Residues Of Implodex Tremoranti. ARTIFICIAL MEMORY TRACE
Entrances. BANKS BAILEY (Quiet World)
Trazado Oculto. JUAN JOSÉ CALARCO (Mandorla)
Panaural. JOÃO CASTRO PINTO (Triple Bath)
Iin. DARIUS CIUTA (Nephogram)
Holes/Tract. COPPICE (Consumer Waste)
Binatone Galaxy. STEPHEN CORNFORD (Senufo Editions)
Taî-pak thiaⁿ saⁿ piàn. YANNICK DAUBY (Kalerne)
Are Fishes Nihilist?. D’INCISE (Kaon)
An Occupied House. D.O.R. (Caduc.)
Deux Trois Choses Ou Presque (Scores By Manfred Werder). BRUNO DUPLANT (Engraved Glass)
No Where. BRUNO DUPLANT & DARIUS CIUTA (Impulsive Habitat)
TransMongolian. ROLAND ETZIN (Gruenrekorder)
Au Sud. HONORÉ FERAILLE (Audio Gourmet)
Encore Un Peu De Ce Monde. FLAVIEN GILLIÉ (Self-Release)
Madal Öö (Shallow Night). JOHN GRZINICH (Engraved Glass)
Raining – Small Music N°3. ROLF JULIUS (Western Vinyl)
Omnimoment. HITOSHI KOJO (Octpia)
Novaya Zemlya. THOMAS KÖNER (Touch)
Thief. LANCE AUSTIN OLSEN (Infrequency)
Organisms. DALE LLOYD (And/OAR)
Le Trou du Lapin. DALE LLOYD (Kaon)
Ay. MAAR (Entr’acte)
On Motion, Stasis And The Geometry Of Desire. SOCRATES MARTINIS (Antifrost)
18:36. MECHA/ORGA (Orila)
40:31. MECHA/ORGA (Impulsive Habitat)
Passing Ressemblance. MITES (Copy For Your Records)
Buiti Binafin. FRÉDÉRIC NOGRAY (3Leaves)
Suara Alam Indonesia. DAVE PHILLIPS (Nuun)
Soft Space Selection. LIZZIE POGSON (Self-Release)
Microclima. PABLO RECHE (Impulsive Habitat)
Instamatic : Snowdonia. JEZ RILEY FRENCH (Engraved Glass)
Three Days Of Silence. PIETRO RIPARBELLI (Gruenrekorder)
Berlin Fields. STEVE RODEN (3Leaves)
Colony. HIROKI SASAJIMA (Impulsive Habitat)
Movement. PETER TOLL (Engraved Glass)
Edgelands. MICHAEL TROMMER (Gruenrekorder)
Forma Y Percepción. DAVID VELEZ (Impulsive Habitat)
Concert For No One. SIMON WHETHAM (Impulsive Habitat)
Gryphaea. CHRIS WHITEHEAD (Observatoire)
South Gare. CHRIS WHITEHEAD (Linear Obsessional Recordings)
Ch – da ( d – 2). CHRIS WHITEHEAD & DARIUS CIUTA (Impulsive Habitat)
Ste-33. CHRIS WHITEHEAD (on Soundcloud)
Craster And The Aftermath. JAMES WYNESS (Self-Release/download only)
Lind, Raud, Aastaajad. YANNICK DAUBY& JOHN GRZINICH & MURMER (Invisible Birds)
V-p V-f Is V-n. V/A (Winds Measure Recordings)
split. WILL MONTGOMERY/ROBERT CURGENVEN (Winds Measure Recordings)


The Footpath. LOREN CHASSE (Naturestrip)
Alice Springs, Central Australia. ROBERT CURGENVEN & CHRIS HOWDEN (Recorded Fields)
Neenah Foundry. PAUWEL DE BUCK (on Soundcloud)
Seven Vignettes. LEE PATTERSON (Shadazz)
Canopy Beat. ELS VIAENE (Silence Radio)


Simon Whetham (sound artist, honorary Harlem Globetrotter)

andrea polli & joe gilmore – ‘n.’ – minimal bliss
yair lopez – ‘pueblos magicos’ – great snapshot recordings from mexico

juan jose calarco & david velez – ‘bahias’ – it took a while for me to get into this one, but then it clicked – nice flow between the two artists

lizzie pogson – ‘soft space selection’ – gorgeous combination of music and field recordings

tarab – ‘i’m lost’ – sneak preview of forthcoming album. great composition

luong hue trinh – ‘black circle’ – another fantastic combination of music, field recordings and great composition – a name to watch out for

tea rockers quintet – ‘ceremony’ – yan jun + 3 other musicians and a tea ceremony master – incredible
hiroki sasajima & takahisa hirao – ‘hidden birds nest’ – atmospheric and peaceful
cloudbuilder – ‘lowrider’ – improvisation has never sounded so gorgeous to me!
night shift – ‘trespassers guide to nowhere’ – a lovely and surprising album from these russian artists

Edu Comelles

Edu Comelles (sound artist, works at Audiotalaia)

The Bad News: WORST OF 2012 (without giving any names, or just mine):

Is not usual that in this very world we point out what we haven’t liked. Just because of that I’m going to write about what I didn’t like of this past year regarding field recordings production, composition, etc,…

Mainly I have become very tired and bored of hearing thousands of albums about, birds, insects, forests, jungle, exotic landscapes, seals in the Antarctica and so on. It seems (and seen from the outside) that we, phonographists are centered and working mainly in the natural world, and even more: the natural world and the colonialist need for discovering far away cultures and soundscapes. This reminds me of the topics and desires of those European explorers of the 19th Century, which now, in some fields of the arts, this is seen as something, lets call it, “old fashioned”. But maybe, this allows for further development and maybe that’s not the right place to do it.

Back to the main thing, I’m betting that if we make a survey we will find that 90% of albums released this year are about the natural world, and the rest albums about “something else”. Even more, I think there is a general need for finding very pleasant sound ambiences, keeping the thought that we need to preserve sounds threatened by oblivion or progress. This includes the love for ancient sounds or the rural world (here I include myself to do some self-criticism) and the eternal quest for beauty. Of course anyone can do whatever they want but I have to admit that there is a worrying lack of (for example) albums or recordings about mundane, noisy ambiences, crowded city soundscapes, supermarkets, shopping centers and, why not, a phonographic album about trash culture. So the question is: why not?

In terms of composition I have also issues on the general pace of field recordings composition is taking. I found myself everyday listening to works based on linearity, works based on minimalism with very few elements to sustain it. It is complicated to find works where there are abrupt changes, wild turns and disturbing progressions. It seems that field recordings follows the drone-ambient line of work with composition.

Finally, one of the worst things I have encountered while listening works based on field recordings is the love for very long works and compositions. I have found myself many times feeling very tired when I have to listen to 40-50 minutes of field recordings. Really, that seems a banal thought but think it carefully, is not that silly. I love when I found a 15 minutes field recording composition, maybe there is no need for more, do we really need to be 45 minutes listening a distant bird or insect? Maybe with a couple of minutes it’s just enough. And thinking more in terms of the general public (apart from us, lovers of this kind of things) there is a very wide range of listeners who won’t spend an hour of their time listening to this kind of works. Instead, with something shorter maybe you get the chance for people to get closer to listen and to appreciate the beautiful world of field recordings. I found myself many times saying the same: if you cannot tell a story in 20-30 minutes, don’t tell it at all.

Summing up, the worst album of the year is the longest with more natural ambiences on it, find it and you’ll get it. The bright side of all of this is that there is a lot to analyze, massive production and, moreover a very good level and quality, maybe the bad news contain a subjacent good news, and those might be the good health of a growing scene.

A few examples of works based on field recordings that had surprised me quite a lot:

Transit Mundi – Carlos Suárez

Because Carlos Suárez has been able to create a very personal, rich and complex world made of soundscapes, a thrilling album full of tension, emotion, beauty and horror. A field recordings roller-coaster.


Música para Palimpsestos – Paco Rossique

Because its just a beautiful piece of work, conceived as a soundtrack for Rossique’s own paintings exhibition in Canarias, because is has been unjustifiably forgotten. Its not exclusively field recordings but I found that this work by Rossique is an abstraction of a museum soundscape, plane and simple.


Serendipity Effects – Regina Burbach

Because its a short work but very dense, barroque and full of strange recordings mixed with signal processing. A very amusing piece that keeps you in the loop wanting more.


I Misteri – Giovanni Lami

Because of shortness and because the album isn’t centered on natural sounds. Hurray!


Barcelona – Jan Kees-Helms

Because I love the capacity of Jan Kees-Helms to present a very wide palette of very mundane sounds. Because it seems that he doesn’t need to get to Alaska to find interesting sonorities.



Gil Sansón (sound artist)

A short list of records that made a strong impression this year

Wandelweiser und so weiter (various artists) another timbre
Empty Words (John Cage) edition wandelweiser
Exotic Exit (Vanessa Rossetto) kye
Decentering (Richard Garet) sourdine
Occult Rock (Aluk Todolo) ajna offensive/norma evangelium diaboli
Fields Have Ears 6 (Michael Pisaro) Gravity Wave
Nowhere (Bruno Duplant, Darius Ciuta) Impulsive Habitat
As It Is (John Cage) ECM
Quelques Usines Fantomes (Bruno Duplant) Unfathomless
Sugarcubes (Bunita Marcus) testklang