Music Reviews

Artist: Steven Naylor
Title: Lieux Imaginaires
Format: DVD
Label: empreintes DIGITALes (@)
Rated: *****
The filter Steven Naylor interjects to a series of field recordings on this release is mainly emotional memory. He makes such a cognitive and creative operation in a way which could be associated to the sight of a director of a movie or an essayist on a plot, so that there's always an emotional transmission which interferes with the somehow cinematic palette of field recordings: the mechanical and electromechanical creaking and squeaking of gearwheels which enliven automatons of Devon-based designer-maker Tony Mann subtends an astounded and sometimes frightened wonder in front of the complexity of an "artifical life", the emotional wires which permeates the fragment "I wish" taken from plaintive song "Home" by Rita Rankin seem to be stretched by longings, fears and imperilments related to wishes, a certain daunted and confused upheavel emerges from "Irrashaimase", an immersive track, named after the typical form of greeting that some Japanese shop keepers shout to invite new customers inside their shops, which depicts urban Japan with its inner contrasts between robotic and elegant, chaotic and musical, a dumbfounded contemplation arises from the wonderful sonic painting of Chiang Mai night market in northern Thailand where Steven kept the noises of motorcycles and other occasinal intrusions in his ethnomusicological documentary and a certain estrangement comes out on "kune kune", a track based on the oinks by these rare hairy pigs living in New Zealand and recorded nearby Bath. The final long-lasting "The Thermal Properties of Concrete", based on the fictitious narrator-character of a woman, wondrously performed by Jody Stevens, and a couple of senior staff members of the Planning Department of the City of Halifax. emphasizes the cinematic hooks of Naylor's skills.

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