Saturday, 31-Oct-2020 07:10:08 MST
- Simon Crab. Photos by Andy Wilson
- Andy Wilson
- Simon Crab
- Recorded on location in Portland (Dorset, UK), Orford Ness (Suffolk, UK) and Fjaerland (Norway).
These recordings are the first result of several years of work. Crab and I had worked together in his group Bourbonese Qualk before starting sunseastar as a separate project with its own agenda. The idea was inspired by listening to Xenakis and thinking about a physicists’ joke about how uncanny it is that nature can solve differential equations instantaneously. The stochastic processes Xenakis uses to construct his music are all around us anyway. From this thought came the idea of taking a short cut around the hard work Xenakis had to do, and making musique concrete based directly on the sound of chaotic processes – the sound of chains rattling, of rain falling, of a field of sheep sounding their bells together, of the sea crashing on the shore, of insects moving through grass.
Several years in the making, Andy Wilson (RBE) and Simon Crab (Bourbonese Qualk) release their first album as sunseastar, based on location recordings from around the UK and Norway. Having worked together in Bourbonese Qualk, sunseastar use processed location sounds as the basis of a refined new sound, somewhere at the borders of music concrete and acousmatic composition. The result is a riot.
The CD comes packaged as a mini LP on superb brown chip reverse board stock with a full colour 8 page booklet containing extensive liner notes about the recordings.
|3||Adhumlas Ice Block||5:43|
|7||The Curve of a Needle||4:54|
|8||New Portland Heights||7:55|
Any fans of the seminal experimental band Faust may know of Andy Wilson, who’s written the highly recommended book-length study entitled Faust: Stretch Out Time 1970-75, covering the band’s history and cultural impact from its inception to 1975. He’s also been running the Faust mailing list since the middle 1990s. I joined seven years ago, and I have never been involved in a more interesting and informative community. It’s fitting that he’s been dubbed 'The Grand Erector' by Faust’s Jean-Hervé Peron, as he facilitates discussion while often remaining a moderating voice. The list is chock full of musicians, but until recently, I had no idea that Wilson was among their ranks. As it turns out, he’s a sound sculptor possessed of extraordinary gifts, bringing his long-fostered computer skills to bear on projects of immense power and diversity.
I became aware of his unique approach to sonic manipulation upon the release of Sunseastar’s Fjarland (Dirter), a project on which Wilson collaborated with fellow electroacoustic musician Simon Crab. The disc presents eight soundscapes whose source material hails from what the duo describes as chaotic processes—insects, rain, clanking chains and the like. Heavy reworking of these field recordings brings the intricacies of each microgesture to the fore, highlighting process over the banality of recognizable product. These are gorgeously shimmering glimpses into the minute details each sound contains; the closest point of reference might be the lush and highly detailed environmental recordings of Chris Watson, but Wilson and Crab employ more invasive techniques, rendering each event larger than life...
...Wilson’s projects appear in limited quantities but are well worth investigating. They reveal historical awareness, musical sensibility and an uncompromising penchant for exploration and invention, making each project interesting and musically satisfying.