Sporo se vraćajući kući i svim drugim dalekim osjećajima: field recordings, gitare, basovi, sintesajzeri, klavijature, semplovi, zvona i rogovi.
Landing Lights is about journeys big and small, from a trip to the local park to tiny islands in the Pacific and everything in between.
It is about looking up as well as down when you travel, late night outings and visits which don't go to plan. It is about the little things that go wrong, getting locked out at night, fighting with family and being caught in the rain. It is about the chaos of the everyday, the white noise of the working week and quiet meditations on the stars. It is about fantasies of places never visited, trinkets carried from earlier trips and finally coming back to where it all began, home. - flamingpines.com
Landing Lights is a diverse collection of tracks that share a common root: home. Some of the tracks reflect leaving, others the distance traveled, and others the landing lights of return. Thoughts of home travel with us wherever we go, a concept that Kate Carr has taken to heart. It’s her most diverse collection yet, due to the fact that the tracks were not initially conceived as an album. When sequenced, they serve as a sonic diary.
Carr belongs to a small subset of artists who are active in both field recording and musical composition. This flexibility gives her an advantage over the non-musical traveler; she is able to capture her natural soundtrack as she goes, then revise it to match the soundtrack in her mind, as she did on Return to New Caledonia. For most people, the relationship between travel and sound is restricted to the music they may carry or encounter, an outer relationship rather than an inner one. For example, we might remember the “Bats of centennial park”, maybe even snap a couple photos; but our sonic souvenir would likely be restricted to a track on a tourist disc or the music that was playing on our iPod when we saw them. Carr composes an aural fantasy in which she duets with the bats on acoustic guitar. This creates an aura of mystery; could it really have happened like that? A similar juxtaposition occurs on “The owls were calling that dark, dark night”, which begs to be expanded for the Birds of a Feather series. The owls call; the flames crackle; the synthesizer drones. The gap between the source material and the final production creates a surface tension that enhances the appreciation of each element.
Birds are never far from the microphones; they appear again on “Wet winter”, along with crickets, snow melt and a motorcycle. When Carr’s dark guitar joins the proceedings, the timbre matches that of Stuzha’s Siberian Sketches: forlorn, deserted, empty. This makes the following track, “A Hymn for Home”, sound like a lamentation. Shadows abound on the dark ambient “I bought a new cowbell” and “My brother came to stay” (which makes use of the same cowbell), as well as the evocative, cello-sampling “Thunderstorm”. But a couple lighter tracks are also present, namely “The Coral Sea” and “untitled (Dreams of Hawaii)”, with hints of sunnier climes and happier days. If home is where the heart is, and the heart drifts, then for a period of time, home drifts as well. Landing Lights delves deeper into the tone of travel than related discs, and benefits greatly as a result. - Richard Allen
In a strange way, Kate Carr's Landing Lights invites comparison to Stefan Betke's first Pole album, CD 1. Admittedly, the artists do appear to be unusual bedfellows, given that Carr's music roots itself in field recordings and Pole's in experimental techno, yet a connection between the two recordings does emerge as one listens to Carr's album. Issued on her Flaming Pines label in a modest edition of 100 handmade and numbered CD-Rs, Landing Lights is speckled with the same kind of textural crackle that earmarked Pole's album so arrestingly when it appeared in 1998. The opening track alone, “Thunderstorm,” hints at the connection when it includes loud tears alongside its textural smears and field recordings, and “Luck Star of the Splendid One” and “Untitled (Dreams Of Hawaii)” are similarly punctuated with pops and static. In Pole-like manner, vinyl crackle figures prominently into the overall sound design of “Not a Cloud in Sight,” which otherwise lurches for nine minutes in a brooding noir-ambient style that even extends into the dark recesses of lounge jazz. In fact, the piece is so texturally rich and precisely rendered, one could easily think of it as a lost track from the sessions for Pole's debut.
Carr created the material between 2010 and 2012 and supplemented her field recordings and samples with guitar, bass guitar, synthesizers, keyboards, bells, and an owl horn for the eleven pieces. In other songs, the Pole connection recedes and the focus shifts to Carr the melodist and sound sculptor. Electric guitar becomes the central instrument in a number of pieces, though its sound is often counterbalanced by field recordings details (e.g., “The Bats of Centennial Park”). “My Brother Came to Stay” sprinkles its wistful guitar reverie with bell accents, while “Coral Sea” pairs its guitar strums with, naturally, burbling sea sounds. Carr isn't coy about track contents, as the titles often convey a clear hint of what to expect in terms of arrangement and mood (e.g., “I Bought a New Cowbell,” “The Owls Were Calling That Dark, Dark Night”). Conceptually, the forty-six-minute release's focus is journeys, large and small, undertaken under daylight skies and night-time stars, but Landing Lights offers a thoroughly engrossing listening experience on purely musical grounds in the absence of such background detail, especially when its contents range so widely across the sonic spectrum. - textura.org
Australian label Flaming Pines has established a distinctive identity for itself as a premium source of music inspired by nature, be it based on field recordings, more traditional compositional approaches, or a mix of both. Label curator Kate Carr’s own output is a paradigm example of the Flaming Pines aesthetic, demonstrating an approach to the musical representation of nature that does not seek to document nor to romanticise, but rather views the relationship between nature and culture as a question to be worked through without necessarily arriving at any definitive answers. Experiences of nature are not presented as being separate from the rest of our lives, even as their ability to draw us out beyond ourselves is recognised. Carr’s music is predicated on the assumption that experiences of nature are shareable, and are capable of forming a basis for meaningful human communication, even as non-human organisms and processes retain their non-humanness.
These are big claims, you may think, so where is my evidence? Exhibit A is Carr’s new album “Landing Lights”, a collusion of field recordings, guitar, bass, synthesisers, keyboards, samples, bells, and an owl horn (though obviously not all heard at once). Whereas some music that incorporates field recordings does so in such a way that the distinction between concrete and composed sounds is often not clear, Carr generally takes the opposite route, combining sounds captured ‘in the field’ with melodic phrases sketched in clearly identifiable instrumental voices. By choosing to do so, she turns the opposition of nature and culture into an issue to be debated and puzzled over, but this is not to say that her work depends on a simple antagonism between the two. Her guitar playing in particular is sensitive to the sonic qualities of the field recordings, like a mirror or an echo in which we hear the echoed sound differently. If she were a painter, one could say that her canvas conveys what it is like to see certain objects or situations existing outside it, while at the same time leaving no doubt that it is still a painting.
There are also some more abstract pieces on the album that take as their focus sounds themselves, rather than their usefulness for defining a melody, and these are perhaps some of my favourite moments. In the context of the Flaming Pines label and Carr’s work as a whole, however, it is this question of how we know and share our experiences of nature that seems to me to be the most distinctive aspect of her practice, one that distinguishes her both from the hardcore documentary phonography crowd and from musicians who only use field recordings as a means to some other end. As such, “Landing Lights” stands out as a compelling and thought-provoking release.
- Nathan Thomas for Fluid Radio
Songs from a Cold Place (2013)
Kate Carr‘s spring trip to Iceland has given the artist new energy and inspiration, along with a new instrument (the langspil). In addition to her new album, a combination of field recordings and additional layerings of music, she’s also been recording a new guitar piece every day. (See Carr’s blog for details.) Another reason to visit the artist’s site is to hear the original Icelandic field recordings and to compare them with the finished works: ”Slowly melting snow” has become “melt”, “Geese take flight” is preserved in its original form, and so on. (Note to the artist: please release the originals on a CD3″!)
It’s easy to see why Carr has extended these recordings. Sometimes a snippet is not enough; for example, the 1:06 of “Ice lake groaning”. What artists hear on location is not all they experience, remember or hope to capture. Carr’s re-workings can be considered translations of her initial experiences. How did it feel to watch a lake re-freezing? Carr’s guitar expresses her inner reactions. ”Rocky seashore” winds its way through “searching for arctic birds”, intimating a much longer visit than the initial sample would indicate. The field recording recedes and approaches, serving as a metaphor for itself. The glockenspiel (4:12) provides a warming touch. The sounds of nearby traffic remind the listener of the human experience: pulling over at the side of the road to catch yet another magnificent sight. (For those who have never been to Iceland, driving the RIng Road is like taking a tour of waterfalls, fjords and cliffs, all within minutes of each other.)
Best of all is the stunning “snow storm” and its accompanying video. Prior to this trip, Carr (who hails from Down Under) had never been in a snow storm, and her sense of wonder (tinged, perhaps, with a little fear) is apparent here. The storm builds slowly, first whooshing, then crackling, finally howling. While at first one may think that Carr stayed inside and played her new langspil (showcased on the exquisite “beginnings”), one quickly realizes that this is a representation of what it might be like to play such an instrument while walking through white-out conditions ~ something a Viking might indeed be proud to do. Carr might not be a Viking, but she’s captured the mood of Iceland’s landscape, and by extension, its populace, making this album well worth the fish. - Richard Allen
Kate Carr, Fabulations (2014)
It’s challenging introducing a record like Fabulations, especially since my experience with Field Recordings as a genre is relatively limited, not to mention that I don’t have an overt fondness for this album, even if I do have a certain admiration for its exploratory vibe and emotional exploration through time and space. Fabulations charts Carr’s migration around the world, sampling soundscapes from Ireland, Scotland, Spain, France and elsewhere, mingling these thoughtful introspections with delicate guitar work and thin drones to generate snapshots of her impressions of these places across time.
Much of the album rests in a state of uneasy melancholy that seems to be obsessed with the expanse of time and the flux experienced across it, breaking it down into more manageable moments as it passes; tracks like “I Remembered It All Somewhere Near Glasgow” and “I Felt Better About Everything In Dunquin” pin down emotional states to geographic locations and express the longing one has to return to these places to feel how we once felt again. Both of these pieces are barren and lonely constructions; “Near Glasgow” is the richer of the two as it fills a mournful guitarscape with indeterminate and scratchy nothings before collapsing into an almost irrepressible fugue of dense guitar and glitch fuzz, whilst “I Felt Better” is a more wistful and longing enterprise. Built from the plumbed darkness of memory it briefly ekes itself out of the void only to be filled with the familiar sounds Kate must have felt in Dunquin; processed oscillations of something spin in the dark, accompanied by the comforting memories of some mysterious creakings and rattlings.
“Cold Trains”, the opening piece, is another that thinks about this notion of travel and time and emotion, seeing the transportative power of the train to take us away from these bleak and depressive old places to those that are new and fresh and full of promise; it chugs along at a glacial pace, stuffed full of the miscellaneous fragments of some since-lost train station, as coughs and footsteps and announcements come and go, trains whirr and whine and drones turn patiently all before ours arrives, the rails shimmering and creaking, ready to usher us away with all speed. But it is less the musings of place and more the places themselves that hold the most power within Fabulations, with a number of tracks dedicated to seemingly important localities; the homely trappings of brief “Broken Sheep Fences, Gale” record the realities and hardships of life in the remote countryside in all its bluster, whilst “Sound Art In Barcelona” is an entirely different planet, one populated by warming guitar drones, simpering smatterings of applause and the diffuse haze of a million moving bodies and their actions: hearing the dull roar of murmured conversations, passing traffic and the screech of the persistent car alarm all define this human landscape.
Quiet contemplation is clearly Kate’s preferred climate, however, as we explore the walls of history and their fading presence in pieces like “Under An Ancient Fort”, which soothes us as the waves lap upon the shingle alongside the distal guitar and gentle breeze as we watch nature reclaim these human constructs. This reverence for history is even more profound in the gorgeous “In Corridors A Thousands Years Old” as we hear the distant tolling of church bells and the hushed tones of some aged hymn float through the old stone, a timeless affirmation of faith through the ages but which is fast becoming lost in this modern age.
Unlike many Ambient records I don’t think this is something one can just “put on” for background listening; it’s an album that deeply rewards the listener for close and dedicated listening but has a tendency to leave me a little jilted and underwhelmed if I don’t, especially through the mid-album. I am sure many will disagree with me; Fabulations has earned a good deal of praise in various reviews already, but I’d enjoy it slightly more if its supplementary melodies had a bit more life in them. Otherwise, an admirable and texturally interesting effort. - www.hearfeel.co.uk/2015/01/12/kate-carr-fabulations-soft-recordings-2014/
A fabulation is the act or result of fabulating or telling invented stories; as a title, it captures a distinction between much of Kate Carr’s recent work, in which personal experiences are grounded in a narratively coherent realism (“Overheard in Doi Saket”, “Paris, Winter-Spring”), and the more explicitly ‘invented’ sound worlds that populate her new album for French label Soft. Departing from the practice of dedicating a whole release to a particular geographic location or moment in time, “Fabulations” collects a patchwork of pieces using field recordings from a number of different places visited on different occasions.
The range of timbres and recorded acoustic situations on “Fabulations” seems very wide, with some pieces apparently being comprised of a great number of sound sources. I write ‘seems’ because a lot of these sound sources are quite vague and ambiguous: it’s often hard to tell whether a broadband rumble or pinging of static is part of a field recording, the overlaying of a new field recording, or a sound added in the studio. The structure of each piece is often equally indistinct: whereas much of Carr’s previous work is typically formed around a single field recording, played back without interruption, with the addition of tones or melodic fragments, on “Fabulations” the track structures are much more diverse and often less obviously described in terms of a linear narrative. There are moments when, as previously, Carr’s guitar picks out some now-familiar melodic lines, but they are rarer than before, with the guitar generally sinking into a hazy background.
One way of describing these ‘fabulations’, one that stresses the subjective and personal aspects of their composition, would be as ‘dream-like’. However, their indistinctness and resistance to easy narrativisation is something I recognise not only from dreams, but also from waking experiences of the music’s subject matter. This is perhaps most evident in the several pieces on the album in which the title refers to travel. “Cold Trains” and “Bleeding Love (Bus Sicily)” are, to my mind, strikingly realistic representations of travel by public transport — not merely what such travel sounds like, but the states of consciousness it can evoke. Interestingly, the two pieces are composed very differently: the former is heavily manipulated and overlaid with guitar and synth, while the latter appears to be a single unedited and unadorned field recording. In both cases, however, stripping away the references that would attempt to make them seem more concrete and specific (such as the destination of the journey, or the time of year of its undertaking) actually makes those situations more recognisable and convincing, not less.
“Fabulations” is thus neither an anthology of out-and-out fantasies, nor a dossier of verifiable documents, nor merely a collection of personal experiences or reminiscences. Rather, the album’s double gesture that is simultaneously both documentary trace and sensory impression could perhaps best be thought of as re-presenting things and events in the same manner in which they present themselves to consciousness: as indistinct and withdrawn. For this reason, “Fabulations” is perhaps the most beguiling, challenging, and rewarding album Carr has released thus far. - Nathan Thomas
I don’t travel much anymore. However, in my stint with the military I spent a fair amount of time in foreign places. As a means of compensating with my discomfort I would occasionally make up stories to accommodate my surroundings. For example, I spent a month or so in Wales, and the wilderness was teeming. It sounds hokey, but the landscape seemed to mirror my state of mind, and occasionally vice-versa, yielding emotions and realizations I didn’t know I was capable of. This interplay had me convinced in the power of travel as a means of self-discovery. With Fabulations, field recording artist Kate Carr does what I did, albeit much more elegantly. She constructs narratives based on her own emotions and realizations, indicative of her surroundings. The exchange between her headspace and her physical space is fluid and seamless, as though they work collectively, illustrating in tandem. Fabulations is a tapestry of both fragility and strength, as it explores the weaknesses of the human psyche alongside physical endurance. Trekking throughout Europe, be it in Italy or Ireland, France or Spain, Carr is the archetypal wanderer - in mind and body.
Field recordings are usually highly interpretive, and unravelling the snippets of sound can lead somewhere just as easily as nowhere. Carr titles her songs smartly, essentially throwing us a bone. The lovely “I remembered it all Somewhere Near Glasgow” displays the sentiment of discovering harsh realities in an unsympathetic backdrop - similar to hearing news of my grandmother’s death from my sergeant, an indifferent messenger, a thousand miles away from home where I might've felt some comfort due to familiarity. The way the intro’s melody repeats at the song’s midpoint shows the habit of reiterating things in your head, serving no purpose beyond obsessing futilely. “I felt Better About Everything In Dunquin” is a bit deceptive, as it implies a resolution, but still harbours feelings of uncertainty and discord. The moody drones clash beautifully with chimes, giving way to the sounds of harsh winds. It’s as though Carr’s rationale is crumbling and the environment is taking over. The most genuinely serene moment on Fabulations is “Tourists Boat in Les Calanques”. It feels like Carr is basking in the ambience, rather than using it as a vessel for negative thoughts. Granted, the distorted luau music feels half-hearted, but at least it’s progress. As she drifts down the river, the sounds of wildlife accompany the smooth drones perfectly, and she is able to look back with a smile on her face.
Fabulations is music crossing the line dividing passive enjoyment and full-fledged therapy. Carr’s compositions delicately balance emotionally powerful drones with vulnerable thought patterns, peppered with field recordings that add an irreproducible dimension to the sound. It is both contemplative and spontaneous, as a tale of someone looking for change but clinging to negative memories. Despite being recorded in several different countries, traces of unresolved problems give the album a unifying concept: on a journey of self-discovery, there’s no guaranteeing you’ll like who you find. But, you can be accepting. Bit by bit, step by step, you might even grow on yourself. If the closing track “Bleeding Love (Bus / Sicily)” serves as any indication, it’s as simple as letting the environment fill your ears, drowning out your self-doubts. As the Leona Lewis song plays in the background, it seems like the song bears significance to Carr, perhaps remnants of a negative relationship. I can only speculate. The field recording artist never utters a word, but as the hustle and bustle of the city bus grows more and more rowdy, it's as though Kate Carr is saying “Almost there. If only this bus were just a bit noisier, maybe I’d actually have some goddamn peace and quiet”. - www.sputnikmusic.com/review/65418/Kate-Carr-Fabulations/