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Tuesday 7th September

September 7, 2010

stefan_fraunberger_-_gilgit_czernowiciI have been very busy over the last couple of weeks, mostly with my dayjob but in my musical activities as well. The upshot is that nothing gets done particularly well, or if I do manage a good standard then it takes forever. I also tend to get behind with communication. So if you are one of those patient people waiting for me to do something or mail you about anything thanks for waiting. I will get there eventually.

Just a brief post tonight then, a short review of a free download by a new name to me- Stefan Fraunberger, whose Gilgit – Czernowici release consists of two unedited and unprocessed field recordings recorded in Gilgit, which I believe is in Pakistan, and Czernowici which I think may be in the Ukraine. The first recording was made of Gilgit at night, the second was recorded in a Jewish Cemetary.

On the suraface the Gilgit recording does not seem to reveal very much, and appears to be just a bad recording full of hum and hiss with the occasional car passing. Listen carefully though, (headphones worked best for me here) and there is so much going on. There is indeed a constant roar of something right the way through the recording. Its hard to say what this is, perhaps a rushing river a little distance away, perhaps something man-made, a factory or even a very busy road, but then the presence of occasional passing cars seems to render this last option unlikely. Crickets, or some other similar insects can be heard adding a constant, gentle rhythm to the recording, and we then just hear slight incidental sounds, the occasional calls of human beings, cars, strange whistling sounds, and other bits and pieces that are hard to identify. This piece sounds great. Its restful and calming to listen to, but if you put the effort in there are all kinds of unanswered mysteries to ponder over in there as well, just a lovely sixteen minute recording that maybe won’t change the world in any way but gives the listener a few minutes to stretch their ears, and sometimes that’s enough.

The Czernowici recording, despite being made many thousands of miles away is remarkably similar, perhaps they were paired together to make this point. Although the recording was made in a quiet place there is again so much to be heard, much of it impossible to identify. So there are flies buzzing close to the microphone, distant shouted voices, and responding laughs, the wind in trees, insects, far off traffic, constantly barking dogs an airplane passing over, and again a heavy grey sheet of something, perhaps just the wind, perhaps an accumulation of many distant sounds from the town fills up the spaces in the recording from start to finish. Then, near the end of the piece we hear choral voices appear from the grey mist, clearly heard from the cemetary’s adjoining church. This beautiful, spooky little patch of singing is barely audible, and blends into the cars, dogs and endless buzzing insects in a very pleasing way indeed.

These tracks, like all good field recording create a sense of place, transplanting the listener somewhere, leading them to form subconscious images in their head about what that place might look like, how it might feel atmospherically. For me both places feel quite safe, gentle and relaxed, but with a sense of mystery and uncertainty, primarily because of the grey mask that does not feel natural, and feels like it is hiding more from us.

So this is a free download in FLAC or other formats from the Moka Bar label here, complete with a pdf of a sleeve design that can be printed off, cut and folded. Its well worth half an hour of your time if you ask me.

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