Boomkat Product Review:
After crossing paths with Kate Carr’s preternaturally sensitive field work on Helen Scarsdale Agency, the sound artist now presents the engrossing 2015 travelogue from a wind turbine to vultures (and back) on her Flaming Pines label.
Recorded during a residency at Joya arte ecologia in Velez Blanco, a mountainous region in S.E. Spain, Carr’s latest offers an intimately close reading of the landscape describing daily journeys trekking up muddy paths with little accompaniment other than distant bird calls, the beating of vultures wings, and inclement, wintry weather conditions, with a steeply immersive and unexpectedly evocative outcome.
Using her ear and by extension the microphone with the precision of a nature photographer, Kate zooms in and documents those sounds that more casual hikers will also encounter, yet may not pay so much attention to without enhanced technological means. Once stitched together in post production to form the two pieces on tape, those sound journeys are recollected as dreamlike trips, segueing from ghostly, windswept harmonics and passages of Áine O’Dwyer-like vox at the start of Ascent, to spots of unnerving lacunæ where you can almost feel the infrasonic heartbeat of trees and the mountain itself, ending up somewhere more light-headed, widescreen at the top.
Likewise, her Descent poetically conveys a sense of strangeness in its description of the mountainside, which feels to come to life with flurries of bird calls, imagined boar growls and barking dogs, vacillating between sensations of relief and caution.
If you’ve enjoyed BJNilsen’s Massif Trophies for Editions Mego, Felicia Atkinson & Jefre Cantu-Ledesma’s Comme Un Seul Narcisse, or Giuseppe Ielasi and Ricardo Renaldi’s Alpi, you’re bound to appreciate Kate Carr’s elevated, surreal perspectives here, too. Sublime.