Review of Wood, Winter, Hollow [12k1075]

Cyclic Defrost (.COM)

Wood, Winter, Hollow is mood music, or perhaps more precisely a mood suite – as music definitely plays a part, yet so to do field recordings. It’s the trickle of a partially frozen brook, the scrunching of wet leaves, the imprint of muddy footsteps, all designed to transport you to another place, another world. The music is slow, sparse, contemplative, and at times even childlike. The development is unhurried, even aimless, with plenty of moments of stillness and resonance.

What’s most interesting about this collaboration between Sydney based Seaworthy and New York based Dupree is the equality in their sounds, and this is rare. Usually field recordings are used as a bed, an exotic shorthand for the more important and higher mixed music to play over. But not here, Seaworthy pauses for some unidentifiable Dupree based environmental sounds, before resuming his nylon string, or melodica, bells, sticks and even at times synth. It feels improvised, there’s the occasional off note, melodica comes and goes of its own volition and there’s all kind of bizarre scraping and buzzes.

This is an exercise in collaboration, with the duo choosing not to swap files over the internet, but to be in the same place at the same time. Thus Seaworthy found himself in Ward Pound Ridge New York, a 4000 acre nature reserve in the middle of winter with Dupree. With Dupree’s hydrophones placed near frozen rivers and all manner of forest sounds captured, Seaworthy tentatively brings in the more musical elements like they are part of the environment, before slowly building into gentle meditative sonic gestures.

This is music that exists below consciousness, loaded with all manner of information and intricacies that you take in without even realising. It’s a work that takes you into an evocative winter world, yet that the reality is that this incredibly meditative music is less an evocation of a particular landscape than a conduit to help you to delve into your own internal world.

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