Boomkat Product Review:
Uneasy field recordings of ostensibly empty spaces by Ukraine’s Edward S. and Argentina’s Anla Courtis, captured in steppes now on the frontline of war, and at ancient ends of the earth.
Next on I Shall Sing Until My Land Is Free, following their Muslimgauze and Merzbow issues, is their most literal, if impressionistic, evocation of Ukraine’s sprawling landscape. Paired with Anla Courtis’ piece that highlights similarities with the arid steppes of his native Argentina, the pair of stark soundscapes extend invitations to immerse in nothingness. Of course, it’s not just nowt, as the sounds of birds, wind, and grass are amplified and impressionistically swept into imaginary structures, and one can’t help but wonder, especially in Edward’s work, how that landscape in between Kherson and Mariupol, and north of Crimea, now sound after 9 months of war.
In Edward’s own words: “Many years ago Alan Courtis and I started swapping audio recordings we made in deserted places known as "steppe". I recorded many in South Ukraine, on the last spot of the European virginal steppe known as "Askania Nova". Alan found his sounds in Patagonia, Argentina, it's another steppe territory, another part of the globe. Both are unusual places to get some interesting field recordings.”
His work ‘Askanian Virgin I’ leaves much to imagination with its gloaming pads and reverberant bleakness resolving to a more sublimely dark tension over the course of 12 minutes, and Anla’s part reflects this stranded bleakness in ‘Askanian Virgin II’ with a finely detailed atmospheric snapshot of Patagonia, where life still goes on in the elements and the unidentifiable sounds of its feathered and four-legged inhabitants.