Out of Town

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On his album Desert Winds, Scott Smallwood had presented treated field recordings of vast outdoor locations. This collaboration with Stephan Moore holds in its core recordings of more urban (and less poetic) spaces: motel bathrooms, a staircase under a highway, a pumphouse. But the process is similar: to create an expanded soundscape, to insert a narrative into the field recording through computer treatments that leave a doubt about what is real and what is virtual. "Copper Harbor," recorded in a pumphouse, begins with rather abstract sounds (that is, until you get accustomed to the place) and ends pumping a danceable beat. Pair that with its relatively short duration (six-and-a-half minutes) and you get the album's hit single! No kidding, the piece negotiates appeal and challenge with intelligence, but "Submarine Fluorescence" (a motel bathroom) and "They Who They Find" (motel floor, squeaks and all) provide more captivating listens. If there is a fence separating field recording from electro-acoustics, these two are sitting right on it. "Out of Town" takes a different approach. The raw material (motel bathroom again) was broadcasted by a local radio, and recorded "at the edge of radio reception" (dixit liner notes) before being treated and assembled. Radio static and voices from other signals become part of the soundscape, evoking the shortwave radio sound art of Martin Meilleur and Carl Michael von Hausswolff. "Aurora Viaduct" (under the highway) extracts regular patterns from the sound of car wheels thumping on the above platform joints. Out of these patterns, a beat slowly arises, and the piece transforms from a field recording to micro-house electronica, the process being subtle in effect, but obvious in design -- and it links back to the hit single that kicked off the disc. Recommended.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
6:24 Spotify
11:32 Spotify
9:12 Spotify
5:34 Spotify
21:37 Spotify
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