TARAB - Shards of Splinters - Fragments of Scratches Killustiku Killud - Kriimude Killud

Shards of Splinters - Fragments of Scratches / Killustiku Killud - Kriimude Killud

All sounds recorded while on residency in Estonia, 2008. Arranged 2008-2011

Additional sounds made by Felicity Mangan (wire/chimney) and John Grzinich (plates/room - Zeltini, Latvia)

www.tarab3058.com

The three tracks on this CD have been arranged from sounds collected while on residency at MoKS in the village of Mooste, Southern Estonia in November 2008. This is not so much a documention of Mooste and its surrounds, but more the by-product of my interaction with, and response to, what I found there. I played with and within what I came across and made no attempt at a distanced objectivity. I can lay no claim to any great or unique insight into the life of the village. As an outsider passing through I fear that would be a little hubristic. Instead, I poked around in empty buildings; crawled around in the debris; sat in cold fields and under bridges; listened to frozen leaves fall on the frozen ground and overheard conversations about what I have no idea. Somehow trying to let it all soak in.

This part of the world has a past that is still physically visible and present. Like everywhere, if you pay attention and/or search hard enough?? Especially as winter set in it had a definite weightiness, life has been and can still be hard. But it is a special place. There is a darkness, but also a very particular calmness and beauty. I hope both these are evident in this piece.

I met people during my stay who all had their various affects on the outcome of this work. Whether through helping me to explore - creating sound together and the many conversations - or by sharing the various domestic necessities. To them I give much thanks.

format: CD in DVDBOX  ltd. 500

Price: €14.00 - worldwide incl shipping

 

Too long has passed since we've heard anything new from Tarab - the solo project of Australian sound artist Eamon Sprod. His process involves the recontextualization of field recordings into dense collages of acoustic noise, natural disruptions, violent crackling, and grandiose crescendos of activity bracketed by periods of a unsettled calm. In listening to each of his records, we can easily see how much time and attention he puts into these increasingly complex compositions; so it's no wonder it can take two to three years for a new album to emerge. Sprod collected all of the sounds for Shards Of Splinters while on a month-long residency at MoKS in Estonia. He purposefully chose to go to Estonia in the middle of a very cold, very bleak Baltic winter, in stark contrast to the fire-season and sweltering temperatures he would have found at the same time in his native Australia. As with his small back catalogue, Shards Of Splinters navigates along the boundary between the natural and the industrial - where factories had been left to collapse and to be consumed by vegetation, where tin sheds were torn asunder by hurricane force winds, where rusted pipes eerily resonate chorale drones from unseen cisterns deep under the surface of the earth. Many a field recordist and sound ecologist uses this boundary space to collect a beguiling array of recordings, but Sprod focuses almost entirely on mapping an apocalyptic poetry through his profoundly broken sounds. The unforgiving cold of the Estonian winter threads his recordings of slushing ice, crumbled concrete, and scraped metal that he deftly arranges into ruptures and disturbances that churn through tactile squeaks and metallic vibrations. There is a violence front and center in Sprod's work as if he's forecast the globe itself waking from hibernation to exterminate humanity once and for all. Aesthetically, Shards Of Splinters finds common ground with Eric La Casa or the more narrative work of Chris Watson; but conceptually, Sprod takes a much darker approach akin to Small Cruel Party or G*Park, that gives his recordings a magnificent depth. Brilliant.  

Jim Haynes

 

Actuator of sonorities & tireless surveyor, Eamon Sprod (Tarab) goes through his environment on the permanent alert, on the watch for sound potentialities, meeting things as if they were fragments of a story in a continual state of flux, and in which he wants to involve us…

This very meticulous, invested, last-ditcher approach is the foundation of a detailed and filmic composition where one feels no joins…

As the eye of the good photographer catching a particular light, a flicker or executing a singular framing, Eamon’s ears record the contrasts, the textures, anticipating the interaction of the materials…
In a step integral with Arte Povera, he takes the time to settle in front of the scraps, the waste thrown out by our consumption society, and integrates them into his creation process, giving them a new boost, a poetic force…

Traces collection, work of memory preservation, but also plays with the in situ found elements, quest for underlying connections, aesthetics of the quotidian…

“Shards of Splinters – Fragments of Scratches/ Killustiku Killud – Kriimude Killud” draws from sounds garnered during a residency at MoKS in Estonia…These, laced with others, drifted from Felicity Mangan’s & John Grzinich’s practices have been de-rushed, then long matured over a period of 3 years, and remounted according to their intrinsic affinities in three pieces forming a soundscape that is listened to like a walk into the unknown…

The first steeped in currents, and a rural respiration extricates itself from the vegetable to give birth to a rough drone, offspring of metallic scrapings against stone, and of surfaces contact…then shifts to a reverie fed by the intertwining of different planes : a few muffled voices, bird calls, some barking, the own gestures of the field recordist… maybe a bark which creaks under Aeolus’action, an old seized up roundabout…after a short gap, the second piece is another wind tale…the debris are activated…one hears chirpings, the emergence of a motor roaring…the air spreads, but seems suspended…the third sequence begins on the stirring of pebbles, glass, ceramic pieces, the echo of an hollow space filled with liquid and brought to life by a projectile…again, a purring drone, then the resonances of a metal tube dragged on the ground…in its centre, a deflagration as starting point of a multitude of other lines…all in all, an orchestration of the matter…

Tarab’s work takes shape from asperities, collisions, all erosion shown off…not a lot of peace, or tepid sweetness in this world ceaselessly on the edge…More of a constant lucidity, the hunt for the sudden burst, a way of educating us to perceive, discern the splendour in the immediate torn background…“Shards of Splinters – Fragments of Scratches/ Killustiku Killud – Kriimude Killud” claws us, unfolding under its raw appearances a profound ode to space & time…

Largely beyond field recordings as pure documentation,here, their remelt in a multifaceted vibrant composition propels us in a grid, magnified territory, bearer of hope of which we become the actors ourselves…

Daniel Crokaert - the field reporter

 

The subtitle of the website belonging to Tarab, AKA the Australian sound artist Eamon Sprod reads “careful arrangements of sonic rubbish”. This description describes his work well, and at the same time goes some way to point towards what I enjoy most in field recording work these days- the careful arrangement of found sounds. I’ve just about lost all interest in field recording as documentation. Unless (as is rare these days) the found sounds are particularly unusual or interesting, what I have come to enjoy is composition more aligned to musique concrete, in which material gathered via field recording is spliced together to create new music again. There are certain techniques and reccurring patterns even in this form of composition (as with most areas of music) that are far from original, but there seems, to me at least, to be much more potential life and vibrancy to be found in music of this kind. Sprod has been making music of this kind for a fair number of years now, but his output is slow when compared to many working in this area. His albums, of which this is (I think) his fifth full length solo are a long time in the making. There is clearly a lot of “careful arrangement” taking place in Tarab’s work, and it sounds all the better for it. With a few exceptions, the raw materials used on Shards of Splinters – Fragments of Scratches/Killustiku Killud – Kriimude Killud were all recorded during a brief residency at the MOKS organisation in Estonia back in 2008, but the three compositions here that grew out of them were three years in the making.

The sounds then are quite varied, perhaps an even mix between familiar, identifiable sounds and more abstract scraping, crashing and groaning. We hear weather sounds in there- the wind, rain hitting metallic sounding surfaces etc, and we hear one or two of the inevitable list of sounds that seem ubiquitous to modern field recording work, children at play, birds twittering etc, but its the way the sounds are tied together into little knots of tension and drama that make this album for me. The first of the three pieces builds slowly, gathering crashing metallic sounds in a large resonant space together with crunching sounds, slithering textural rushes and other more identifiable environmental sounds into steady waves of layered collage. These move slowly, their viscosity building gradually until suddenly stopping dead just when you don’t expect it, just as the densely packed storm of sounds seems to be leading to something more calamitous. The second piece is a much calmer, and considerably shorter affair, again with sounds laid across one another, so birdcalls peer through light droning pitches, chugging engines and murkily captured, unintelligible conversation, but again the elements work well together, the different weights and textures of the various sounds offsetting one another to produce a balance in the music that has not been stumbled across by accident. The third, sixteen minute track follows in similar fashion, but with a strong sense of foreground and background at play. Deeper, slower, darker drone sounds providing a bed for mostly nameless scratching, crackling and fizzing leaping forward from the speakers, and even one very loud explosion standing out midway through.

The acid test for me with music like this, is how much does it sound like a collection of field recording extracts, and how much does it feel like a solid, fluid composition with a sense of narrative. If as a listener I find myself engaging with the music as a living, breathing piece of work then the only way that the source materials come into play is when I sit down to try and write about what I am hearing, what the constituent elements involved in the piece are. Shards of splinters works really well for me as such an example of organic composition. Like the middle period work of John Wall, carefully chosen and edited sounds have been pieced together over a long period of time to create what has ended up sounding really quite fluid and natural. Excellent work.

Richard Pinnell - The Watchful Ear

 

Eamon Sprod, also known as Tarab, has had a few releases in his twelve year career, on such labels as 23Five Incorporated and Naturestrip, and usually his work incorporates field recordings, sounds from objects and how they work together or against eachother. Sometimes it takes the form of a sound installation, and sometimes as a CD, such as this one. Maybe the title is for the three pieces on the CD, or perhaps it's just an odd title. The material was already recorded in 2008, when Tarab was on residency in Estonia, and it uses sounds produced by Felicity Mangan (wire/chimney) and John Grzinich (plates/room). It's hard to say what is what here, and that's perhaps the way things should be with this kind of music. You don't know what is the actual field recording, although sometimes you can guess of course, what is the hand played manipulation of metal objects and to waht extend things are recorded live in a big, empty space (which adds to the mystery of the music), and what exactly was edited in what the cover calls 'arranged 2008-2011'. To what extend there is manipulation of any kind is not easy to say, I think. All of this is, of course, hardly 'new' as it's perhaps common practice for a lot of people that we review in these pages. Tarab fine combination of pure field recordings and manipulation of found sounds, melting together in a rather organic way, is very nice. It's at his best when it sounds like it's the real thing - un-processed, un-edited, cut out from the real thing. And that happens quite a bit here, so I think this is a rather fine album indeed.

Frans de Waard - Vital Weekly

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