Boomkat Product Review:
Smallsound specialist Craig Tattersall returns with a unique handmade edition featuring art and music created in collaboration with Canadian multi-disciplinary artist Chrystal Cherniwchan. Utilising photographs, spoken word, typewriters, tape loops, harmonium and piano, the result is a 60 page art book and tape that's highly evocative of both artists’ respective locations, and the dialogue between them. Beautiful, quiet music that comes highly recommended if yr into work by Richard Skelton, Ulla, KMRU, Elodie.
‘grass folded and pressed" is described by the label as a series of conversations between the two artists and their locations in the North West and South West of England, respectively. Field recordings sit alongside found and historical objects captured on contact mics and hydrophones, then shuttled between the duo alongside photographs of those same locations. The results are again sent back and forth, eventually returning to each original site to be played back and recorded in symphony with each space, slowly building sounds like geological layers.
Cherniwchan brings an academic rigour and philosophical grounding to the project that allows it to develop in surprising ways; the crumbling, dusty processes might be somewhat familiar, but the music's poignant historical and locational depth lends it a narrative that's unexpected and challenging. It's music that's got almost as much in common with Richard Skelton's site-specific work, or Steve Roden's atmospheric and academic minimalism, as much as it does with Tattersall's well-worn ambient miniatures.
On the opening side, chirping birds and workshop scrapes slowly give way to fluttering piano trills that form fleeting melodies before dissipating into a fog of harmonic synth. The flipside is more unusual, deploying typewriter clacks and spoken word passages from both Cherniwchan and Tattersall that offer a window into their creative process. Voices overlap like waves on a beach, eventually taking us back to the opening side's slow-motion piano. The composition peaks in its final third, when the duo's voices decompose into faint traces and white noise, overdubbed on top of each other until all that’s left is a wordless smudge.
Accompanying the audio is a 60 page handmade // hand-stitched book that features photos, prints and artefacts documenting the process, making a sort of gesamtkunstwerk of doing, listening, touching, and seeing wrapped up in one dense, stirring artefact that's somewhere between a geological survey, audio diary and photobook.