Whereas a Graffiti artist’s primary messages are “I Was Here” and “Here I Am,” a field recording/electrocaoustic artist’s might be “I was There” and “This is what I heard.” In the slow progression of “tropical amnesia one,” Matt Shoemaker takes us from primordial gurgles present in pond life, somewhat higher perspective of birdsong, to a suggestion of the infinite by the addition of a constant stream of noise. As the piece advances, there is a sense that even in the mundane, repetitive sounds of life, even in places where no one is there ordinarily to observe, some process takes place, at once common and majestic, maybe even holy, but certainly beyond words.
Shoemaker has said that the focus for this project was inspired by his participation in sound artist Francisco Lopez’s Mamori Sound Project, an annual workshop that gathers a small group of artists and exposes them directly to the teeming life and environment of the Amazon.
As a single track and as a project, “tropical amnesia one” seems unfinished only in the sense that all organic life moves at its own pace. Matt Shoemaker’s piece could literally extend forever; his reminder that the routine and repetitive pace of most life is evidence of action, not stasis. His later electronic manipulations at the end of the piece is more a nod to the awe of that realization than an attempt to make it more dramatic.
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