Monday, August 3, 2020
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Artist: Emmanuel Mieville (@)
Title: Four Wanderings in Tropical Lands
Format: CD
Label: Baskaru (@)
Rated: *****
It's true that even a white noise could speak to the listener's mind acting as a spark that manages to fire its imagination and such an ignition is even more possible with field recordings, but the production of images and even stories mostly depends from listener's sensitivity. That's why I will confine myself to merely expressing my opinion on the skills of Paris-born composer Emmanuel Mieville with microphones while grabbing some emanations from settings explored in some exotic lands he visited (Costa Rica, Hong Kong and Malaysia plus an additional insert of the field recording grabbed by Yann Van Steenbrugghe in Peru). My physical reaction in front of these realities intertwined with the one surrounding me could be the best feedback and you could guess how impressive Emmanuel's work sounds if you consider that some of them mananged to pierce my sonic space in an astonishing way: for instance I shouted my flatmate to stop playing with crockery, pots and pans before realizing she was not in the flat while listening Monsieur Mieville hitting Solumn Donas' metal and wood sculptures in the track recorded in Cahuita, Costa Rica; I've been tempted to postpone some appointments for bad weather conditions when listening to the tropical storms grabbed in Malaysia and I've literally jumped from my seat when the dog recorded in the first part of the second track started barking in the right side of my headphones (Gosh! I really run the risk of being killed by an heart attack...). But the incredible holophonic experiences Mieville provides in this sort of audio set of postcards, corroborated by a convincing academic path as sound engineering scholar at film school and musique concrete apprentice at the notorious Groupe de Recherches Musicales (GRM), the renowned theoretical and experimental group of sound researchers founded by Pierre Schaeffer, is not the only aspect of this release, which represents realities in a more realistic way than any expensive led-lighted 3D TV set as you will easily perceive during this wanderings the constant contrast between natural forces (some of you are going to argue Mieville has an omitted passion for entomology or ornithology for the abundance of insects and birds filling the sonic space together with sonic shots on storms or winds) and human footprint, as already suggested by Valentina Reolon's artwork featuring a foggy city skyline on the external side, which looks like hiding an heavenly foreshortening inside the booklet. Envisage the possibility of envy Mieville's wandering (especially if you look for some photos of the places he mentions in the tracklist), but also his magnanimity in bringing such a sonic souvenir to us!


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