| 2 | Favourite Places | Various
|TRACKS & LOCATIONS | 2 | FP
Artist: Lawrence English
Place: Enoggera Reservoir
Track: Quiet Planigale
Location: 27º26'24”S, 152º55'16”E
Artist: Yannick Franck
Place: Beaurieux, Heure-le-Romain, Belgium
Location: 50º43'22''N, 5º38'42''W
Artist: Michael Santos
Place: Parkland Walk, London
Track: Perfect Pitch
Location: 51º34'29"N, 0º07'47"W
Place: South Downs
Track: South of London Drift
Location: 50º53'58”N, 0º5'39”W
Place: Sangenjaya, Tokyo, Japan
Track: Town, The
Location: 35°38'44"N, 139°40'15"W
Artist: Jeremy Bible
Place: Behind the Concrete Factory, Canton, Ohio, USA
Track: Behind the Concrete Factory
Location: 40°54'22"N, 81°19'14"W
Place: The Peak District, Near Surprise View
Track: Winter Heather, Frozen Breath
Location: 53°19'13"N, 1°37'17"W
Place: Partridge Green, Mini Ramp
Track: Partridge Green
Location: 50°57'38"N, 0°17'54"W
Artist: Michael Trommer
Place: Toronto's Underground Pedestrian Network
Track: TD Path 6
Location: 43°38'47”N, 79°22'58”W
Artist: He Can Jog
Place: My Bed, Brooklyn, New York
Track: Woodbine Entwist
Location: 40º42'58"N, 73º56'29"W
|INTERACTIVE WEBSITE | Explore places from 1 | FP
|REVIEWS | 2 | Favourite Places
The second volume of Audiobulb’s ‘Favourite Places’ series won’t do much for fans of proper tunes what you can
hum. The concept is simple: artists (including Calika, Michael Trommer and Yannick Franck) create a field recording
of their favourite place, then base a composition around it. Perhaps understandably this is largely ambient, though
there’s room for a skittering beat on Calika’s track. Predictably, with a project like this, it has its longueurs. But
there are also moments of heart-soaring beauty, like Jeremy Bible’s ‘Behind The Concrete Factory’, and He Can
Jog’s closing glitch-fest, which sounds not unlike a fragmented and digitally reconstructed Thom Yorke.
Atmospheric and frequently lovely.
Get 3 songs: ‘Behind The Concrete Factory’, ‘Partridge Green’, ‘Woodbine Entwist’
Dig deeper: Brian Eno, The Caretaker, Eric Zann
THE MILK FACTORY
The concept is pretty simple: take a number of contemporary musicians with a taste for moods and atmospheres,
task them with recording sounds from their favourite places in the world and use them in a composition. This is
exactly what David Newman, head of Audiobulb, did two years ago, and the result was compiled in the first
installment of Favourite Places, with contributions from Biosphere, Taylor Deupree, Claudio, Leafcutter John and
John Kannenberg amongst others. The second volume in the collection brings together musicians from the UK
(Michael Santos, Icarus, Autistici, Calika), Australia (Lawrence English), Belgium (Yannick Franck), Japan
(Sawako), USA (Jeremy Bible, He Can Jog) and Canada (Michael Trommer), giving them each a chance to
introduce their very own favourite place. The booklet accompanying this CD contains photographs and a
description of these spots, providing concrete complements to the recordings.
The locations selected vary greatly here, ranging from the South Downs between London and Brighton (in two
instances), a derelict concrete factory in Ohio, a forest near Brisbane, to a suburban Belgian town, a public
walkway in North London, a bedroom in Brooklyn, or the Peak District National Park near Sheffield, yet, perhaps
due to the very nature of the project and of the artists involved, there are great sonic consistency throughout
the record. Apart for He Can Jog’s Erik Schoster who uses his bed as his source location, the other nine artists
use outdoors settings as the starting point for their respective contributions, feeding sounds ranging from wind
sweeping though landscapes or birdsongs to running water, rain or distant traffic noises into densely
atmospheric collages where music often occurs as an impressionist counterpoint.
This especially the case on Lawrence English’s opening Quiet Planigale, which originally seems to catalogue all
sorts of birdsongs but eventually gives way to a sombre drone over which lighter fragments of hazy melody take
shape, or on Michael Santos’s Perfect Pitch, where field recordings, collected along Parkland Walk, between
Finsbury Park and Highgate, occupy solely the first segment of the track, before outstretched chimes come in,
arranged as to evoke light playing through branches and leaves. Autistici’s Winter Heather, Frozen Breath works
on a similar concept, David Newman originally focusing on a walk through the vast spaces of the Peak District
National Park before bringing in gently shimmering sounds to convey an element of the wide open space serving
as inspiration for the track. It is also the format adopted by Michael Trommer on his portrayal of Toronto’s
underground pedestrian network for TD Path 6. To complement the urban setting of the opening two and a half
minute, Trommer distils a haunting and dense series of soundscapes in the remaining section of the track,
crystallising the transient aspect of the paths network and its anonymity in a surprisingly vivid way.
Icarus take the concept into a different direction by intricately linking the sounds recorded on the South Downs
(football commentaries on a portable radio, human voices, insects, car noises) and the music they extract from
them, articulating these two phases against each other. This is also partially the case with He Can Jog’s extremely
clever Woodbine Entwist, although producing a radically different result. Here, the bed, and by extension the
bedroom, is integrant part of the song, not so much through the sounds used as through the low-fi approach to
the colourful electronically-tainted folk that develops from the experiment, a reminder that the music was recorded
in his own living space.
Like its predecessor, this second volume of Favourite Places collects sounds and impressions, and reflects the
choices made by the various contributors. Frequently characteristic of their usual work, these tracks are like open
windows into the inspiration of musicians, giving an interesting, if often highly unusual and personal, insight into
their intimate spaces.
A compilation featuring artists such as Lawrence English, Autistici, Sawako, Icarus and Calika, this new
Audiobulb release invites contributors to present an auditory portrait of specific spaces and places that are in
some way important or meaningful to them. Integrating field recordings with composed elements, the assembled
artists set about assembling acousmatic landscapes. This is, of course, nothing new at all, but the success rate
here is a little higher than usual, with great contributions from Yannick Franck, Michael Santos and Icarus going
beyond the more pastoral microsound output we've come to expect from the 12k contingent on here. In other
developments, Calika rock the boat with some beats, Jeremy bible glitches his way through the very musical
'Behind The Concrete Factory' and He Can Jog offers up a piece of granulated songwriting that shuffles through
abstract vocals and skipping chord changes. Recommended.
Since its original release in 2007, 'Favourite Places' has been one of my ...favourite soundscape albums.
It presented music inspired by favourite locations of well known artists (like Biosphere, Taylor Deupree) as well
as equally beautiful compositions by lesser known (to me) names.
The concept is as simple as it is challenging: ask composers to describe their favourite place - in sound. This
place must be exactly pinpointed with location details, so it should not be an imaginary place.
One might expect the result to be a collection of environmental recordings, but luckily, none of the composers
takes the easy way. All pieces start with environmental location statements, but then emerge into into subtle
Judging the quality of the sounds/music on volume 2, this concept may grow into a collectable series of modern
environmental soundscapes. In fact, I hope a lot more volumes may follow after these two!
Compared to volume 1, volume 2 feels even more balanced. All of the tracks are very well documented (as in
volume 1): exact coördinates of the favourite location, time of recording, weather, and detailed description of the
reasons why this location is favourite to the composer. Plus website details for futher artist investigation.
The releasing label, Audiobulb, has obviously put great dedication and a lot of love and care were into these
releases. Just check the accompanying website to explore these favourite places. At the time of writing, this
website only seems to cover the locations from volume 1, but I guess (hope) the tracks from volume 2 will be
added in the near future.
The really fascinating thing about these 'favourite places' is that they feel favourite even when 'detached' from
their original locations. The music feels like it's describing your own favourite place ...wherever that place may
Composers for volume 2 include Lawrence English, Sawako, Jeremy Bible, Autistici (among others) - favourite
locations include England, Belgium, New York, Ohio, Tokyo (among others). Hopefully, even more favourite
places will be revealed in the future!
BLOW UP MAGAZINE
"Favorite, Places", ovvero la memoria dei luoghi, che siano spazi aperti o camere da letto. Così come nel caso del
primo volume (BU #119), ecco a convegno dieci sound artists per raccontare (e raccontarsi) in modalità fono-
geografica, di preferenza attraverso registrazioni ambientali processate in espanse spirali ambient (di Lawrence
English, Sawako e Yannick Franck i contributi migliori), talvolta apertamente contaminate col ritmo (Calika) o
mutate in zoppicanti canzoni shakespeareiane (He Can Jog). (6/7) Nicola Catalano.
The release of the British label Audiobulb Records which is planned for this autumn is the second part of
compilation Favourite Places. Its conception is not new but of course it's devilishly attractive for ambient listeners
- the musicians record the surrounding sound atmosphere with the help of their recorders and then they use this
material in musical tracks. As opposed to the compilation Birmingham Sound Matter released earlier on the label (I
wrote about it a little bit earlier), here we can speak about music in more traditional context - in some places we
can hear melodies, sometimes even rhythm... All the material is well-dosed and perfectly represented - multipaged
booklet accompanying the compact-disc, includes the pictures of the places, the sounding of which became the
prototype of musical material and also the accompanying text of music's authors.
In most cases parks and small villages are chosen as the locations the spirit of which is conducted with the help
of musical tracks. Actually ambient with the elements of field records in different ways makes us closer to
wonderful nature surrounding us. Let's take for example track "Winter Heather, Frozen Breath" by Autistici. He
skillfully reproduces the unity with morning natural landscape, breathing of cold fresh air, quiet rustle of steps the
sounds of which are being gradually shrouded with modest, airy electronics.
Among nature sketches Sawako stands out a little bit, it moved the listener to one of Tokyo's suburbs.
Distinguishable is also Michael Trommer who produced the records in Toronto, in the underground pedestrian
network - recognized as the biggest underground shopping complex in the world. And Eric Shoster, known as He
Can Jog chose for the last tenth track his flat in New York as the "favourite place", to be more exactly his bed.
Somebody's snoring during "Woodbine Entwiat" amused me especially after previous immersings into prostration,
disposing it to dreamy and motionless pastime. Developing track gains syncopated but rather definite rhythmical
IDM picture and summs up this release where perfect content is put into not less perfect form.
Last of this trio is a compilation under the curation of David Newman, who conceived the Favourite Places project
three years ago, bidding contributors submit audio-documents of specific spots that were in some way personally
significant. 2 | Favourite Places extends the conceit, with a host of soundsmiths from across the globe – the UK
(Michael Santos, Icarus, Autistici, Calika), Australia (Lawrence English), Belgium (Yannick Franck), Japan
(Sawako), USA (Jeremy Bible, He Can Jog), and Canada (Michael Trommer) – happy to hitch field findings to
musical elements in response to the call to hymn their favoured spots. The usual environmental suspects are all
here: wind, birdsong, running water, rain, distant traffic noise, prefacing and imbuing music-infused collages with
Lawrence English’s opening “Quiet Planigale” includes a series of isolated tweets (no Twitter, though) as a
preface to a doleful drone to which further minimal incursions add themselves to create a meditative drift work.
Nice enough, but Yannick Franck’s “Beaurieux” is a more amalgamated mix, merging musical and non-musical
matter (around suburban Belgium) while maintaining their integrality. Michael Santos’s “Perfect Pitch” has field
recordings from along Parkland Walk subtly seeping into pitchshifted chimings, his piece being the most evolved
in terms of its embedded music.
All of these are very much in the vein of the pastoral electronica + microsound lite classically represented by the
12k camp, whose Sawako and Autistici (David Newman, with a foot in both camps) are also included. The
template is, however, versatile and amenable to adaptation. Michael Trommer, for example, presents
a more aurally challenging outcome on “TD Path 6,” starting out with sounds from the Toronto underground
(pedestrian network), then abstracting them into shifting passages of ambience, articulating feelings of alienated
transience and eerie non-place. Those offering other compositional orientations include Audiobulb’s very own
Calika, who incorporates some homebrew beatboxing into a typically ludic lo-fi electroacoustic doodle; and Icarus
take a less conventionally musical route, manipulating the actual sounds combed from the South Downs (radio
effluvia, insects, car noises, et al.) into a piece of sound art. This is also partly, but differently, the approach of He
Can Jog on the closing "Woodbine Entwist;” here the location becomes integral to the song, though not so much in
the sounds themselves (a portrait of the artist as a young snoring man provides an amusing moment of bathos) as
through the fragmented bedroom indietronica that emerges, seeming to represent a hearing for the unheard legion
of bedroom-boogiers throughout the ages.
Following last week's Thomas Koner's mentioning of longitude/lattitude's in the piece, this compilation, the second
in a series, does the same. Each of the ten pieces is a favorite place for the composer. They are also mentioned
by the place it is, although then its still not easy to know what it is, except of course 'my bed' by He Can Jog. I
could of course install google's earth view thingy, but then I rather listen and imagine these places myself. Oh
oops. The booklet provides me with pictures and descriptions of each of the places, which is a nice read. If you
read these, you might think that this is a CD of purely field recordings, as there are references to recording dates
/times, but I guess that's when the basic material has been recorded, which was later manipulated. Throughout
one can say that these ten composers all belong to the world of microsound, with their minimalist, electronic
processing of the original field recordings. Sometimes we hear a bit of rainfall, bird twitter, people talking or
snoring in 'my bed'. Not much news under the sun in terms of music, but throughout I must say this is a nice
compilation of well made field recordings, microsound and electronics. Including Lawrence English, Yannick
Franck, Micheal Santos, Icarus, Sawako, Jeremy Bible, Autistici, Calika and Micheal Trommer. (FdW)
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