Review of Two Lakes [12k1062]

Cyclic Defrost (.COM)

Great music can transport you. Sometimes you are transported to places imaginary, other-worldly or fantastical. Sometimes you are transported internally, to purely emotional spaces. And sometimes you are transported to very personal places – places of memory. In the case of Two Lakes you are transported to places very real. These places are Lake Meroo and Lake Termeil on the New South Wales South Coast, where many of the sounds in the album were recorded.

This is an album unlike any other, where an entire landscape becomes an instrument. In fact it becomes more than an instrument, it becomes an entire orchestra of incidental sound. With the use of a small arsenal of specialty microphones, including a hydrophone and shotgun mic, Matt Rosner and Seaworthy have managed to assemble one of the most compelling, beautiful and transportive collections of field recordings that I have ever heard. The sounds of rushing water, native bird songs and wind rustling the leaves on trees are all calming and familiar, and they paint a picture that is vivid and intimate. The album makes you feel as though you are right there at Lake Meroo or Termeil, surrounded by the flora, fauna and that uniquely Australian ambiance.

The sounds of the two lakes are accompanied by a series of beautifully improvised instrumentals, which are woven into the texture of the field recordings. Rarely have I heard field recordings so flawlessly integrated with recorded music. The compositions are as lovely and gentle as the environmental sounds, and they somehow blend together magically, floating in and out of each-other – never competing with or overpowering the other. Plucked guitar is occasionally punctuated by background insects, and then softly morphs into rushing water. It all happens so elegantly and seamlessly that you barely notice the changes, and the lines between the instruments and the natural noise begin to blur. It is delicate but never boring. Light, but not forgettable.

What it amounts to is the soundtrack to a place, and yet it is more than just a collection of sounds inspired by or dedicated to that place. It is the soundtrack to being there, and being a part of the many moods and expressions of the Australian bush. A place worth revisiting many times.

Heath Killen

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