Review of 1897 [12k1053]

Foxy Digitalis (BLOG)

Cameron Webb’s Seaworthy project returns with a set whose spatial setting greatly impacts the sonic output presented here. Given the chance to record an album in an abandoned Australian ammunitions bunker, Webb took full advantage of the empty spaces afforded to him, combining the natural reverb of the space with found sounds from the neighboring wetlands to create a stark and physically grounded aural experience.
Trotting the line between ambient organizer and field recorder, Webb presents twelve tracks, each numbered and labeled as either “Inside,” “Ammunition,” “Installation” or, on the closing track alone, “Outside.” This poetic move from inside to outside is hardly noticeable however, so encapsulating are the sounds themselves. Gentle guitar is woven on “Ammunition 2” and “3,” taking full advantage of the space and surrounding sounds in creating a lulling meditation on the area.

The “Installations,” especially the still glistening of “1” and the flustered electro-acoustics of “2” present another angle, sometimes mixing guitar in but mostly sticking to the scrapes and hums within the space. For my money though, some of the strongest material here is found in the brief and eerie recordings made within the building with little to know instrumentation. Vast caverns of air move about as footsteps and small trickles emanate through the space, making for a highly tangible listening experience. For my money, there actually could have been more of this, and often it seems the ideas here are more divided and contrasting than perhaps was intended—nestling guitar tracks next to still static hum is a tough thing to pull off without making the guitar initially read as slightly trite. Still, this is a well-conceived and thoughtful direction, and one clearly engaged here by a highly capable practitioner of the form. Very interesting. 7/10

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