Wednesday, September 30, 2020
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cover
Artist: Simon Whetham (@)
Title: Never So Alone
Format: CD
Label: Crónica (@)
Rated: *****
I'm pretty sure that the great majority of people, who experienced jams when the soot from the notorious elfin barbecue inside Icelandic volcano with unpronounceable name Eyjafjallajökull in February and March 2010, countered with a fine selection of cuss words and complaints against powerless air company's ground crews and imaginary underground deities or devils, who caused the closing of European airspace. The skittish English sound-artist Simon Whetham, compelled to outstay his stay in Lisbon for the above-mentioned occurence, preferred to explore the fascinating Portuguese capital city and surrounding countryside in order to grab sounds and match them with his own feelings by his paraphernalia of microphones he kept in his luggage together with razors, deodorant, socks and underwear, so that he started to collect sound material by means of a Sennheiser shotgun microphone, a pair of Tram lavalier mics, contact microphones, hydrophones, an electromagnetic coil transducer and a radio receiver. Simon's decision to turn hassles into a creative opportunity generated this interesting album where the reference to experienced loneliness in the title "Never So Alone" should not be interpreted as a negative factor, but as an essential condision for the creation of this work: the electric flurries on creaks, tweets, trampling and crumpling sounds of the initial track "Inertia, Rising" immediately imbibes the sonic space by evoking a certain sense of isolated dismay of the receiver, whose amplified perception acts like an imaginary sentient marble which rolls on metallic smooth surfaces by creating occasional dissonances and blurring with other external resonances on "A Metallic Aftertaste" before the first interlude "The Suspension of Time", where a web of tintinnabulations gets gradually overshadowed by rasps, amplified sinister echoes and plastic rubbing from recesses of material world. The regular stepping on planking level and trickles over flowing streams of spooky interferences on the following "Shifting" is almost cathartic, while the membrane between inner and outer world seems to thin and disappear in the following "A little Faith", where any stimulations from the surrounding environment look like moving inside streams of bodily fluids. Whereas the second interlude, "Lifesigns/Ashcloud", refracts urban traffic, the high-spirited chit chat of a Portuguese woman, distant playing kids and other resonating plaster casts from lively settings, immersed in a volatile sonic wave, look like unexpected appearances on a scuba mask on the final "Accentuate the Positive".

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