Boomkat Product Review:
Berlin-based Australian sound artist Felicity Mangan amazes once again with this compact set, bending church bells and train noise into bizarre, symphonic patchworks that defy simple classification. RIYL crys cole, Francisco López, Lucy Railton or BJ Nilsen.
If you stumbled across last month's Warm Winters-released "Wet On Wet", then you'll already have an inkling ths one is gonna be strong. "Train Tracks..." is a more recent experiment from Felicity Mangan, developed sharply over the summer. The idea came to Mangan while she was on a 'green tour', choosing to travel slowly by train and ferry through Denmark, Sweden, Finland and Norway in June. With an excess of time to think about her surroundings and notice the unique sonic characteristics of places she ended up inevitably waiting for connections, Mangan was able to capture quiet moments that might usually go unheard while rushing from venue to venue. She forms these slow sounds into layered patchworks that broadcast her intention: it's like letting the mind wander when you're stuck somewhere new, and every sound - no matter how insignificant - is amplified into a surreal contortion of itself.
On 'Train Travel', Mangan plays with dour Scandinavian church bells - a single bell that marks the time of day - shifting the pitch so they ring out in joyful praise. Footsteps and the train's omnipresent whirr fill out the background, and a the high pitched electronic hum mutates into orchestral strings. These elements - the bells and the train's drones - are amplified further on 'Locomotion', where they stand for the absurd and the haunted respectively. Here Mangan makes the bells completely plastic, fudging their pitch as if she was working with raw tape, making the resonant clangs bounce, wobble and groan. And when the train sounds emerge this time, they're as fully formed as a de-facto quartet. She switches pace on the final track 'Stations in Between', phasing into psychedelic abstraction using whistling bird sounds and a thudding rhythm that smudges into echoing city sounds - snatches of music, car horns and muffled vocals.
Considering the amount of records emerging that use field recordings, especially trains, few of them come close to anything this unusual or graphic. Next level, seriously.