Monday, June 1, 2020
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Artist: Viv Corringham (@)
Title: On The Hour In The Woods
Format: CD
Label: Farpoint Recordings (@)
Rated: *****
British-born U.S.-based singer Viv Corringham has been cutting her own distinctive path as a singer and vocalist ranging across free improvisation, Greek Rembetika, Turkish folk and other styles of music, often combined with environmental field recordings made during solo walks. Her work includes concerts, soundwalks, radio works and multi-channel installations. 'On The Hour In The Woods' was created at Byrdcliffe Arts Colony, New York. As Viv put it, "That summer I stayed in a cabin in the woods. Every day, at a different hour, I went outside to record and sing with the sounds I heard there. After 24 days I had covered every hour of the day and night and so I stopped."

So what we have are 24 tracks, one for each hour of the day, all individually less than three minutes in duration. All are different, and all feature whatever environmental sounds were occurring at the time (birds, animals, insects, planes flying overhead, etc.) and Viv's vocalizing. That vocalizing ranges from heavy breathing to various vocal calisthenics, to abstract scatting, growls, grunts, chirps, whines, screeches, ululations, whispers, bird and animal imitations, etc. One of my favorite segments (track 10, 4pm) was Viv's duet with a barking dog. I think she egged the pup on to be even more vociferous than it would have been if she weren't there. In the end the barking contest seemed like a toss-up. I also liked the owl (track 18, 12am). As interesting as it initially was, I think you'd have to be a real connoisseur of the vocally strange to make it all the way through the 48 minute runtime of this album. Not for everyone, but captivating for those who might enjoy spending some time with a vocally eccentric lady and her woodland creatures.