FOUND produced the music presented on Terra Nova as part of a commission for a project that considered the fate of the 1910 Antarctic expedition ship of that name. Naturally, synthesisers were used to represent this adventure: at least they can capture the icy chill of those frozen wastes. LP edition on Chemikal Underground, limited to 300 copies.
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Dr William Clark Souter travelled to Antarctica at the turn of the twentieth century on the Terra Nova ship, their mission was to rescue Captain Scott’s ice-stricken vessel RRS Discovery. Souter was a junior doctor based at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary who was also a keen photographer and was allowed to document the expedition. Edinburgh-based FOUND have been commissioned by Grampian Hospital Arts Trust to create a response to Dr Souter’s photographs that are housed within the University of Aberdeen Special Collections.
Opening with the ominous stirrings and swirlings of synthesizer conjuring up imagery of icy winds, on ‘It Starts With a Storm’; it’s an otherwise placid start to the record. Hushed piano tones and bowed guitar introduce second track ‘Terra Nova’, beginning a gently swaying ballad to the ice-stricken ship of the title. ‘Lightless’ is (somewhat ironically) a light, jaunty tune with pleasingly harmonious acoustic guitar, softly played drums, bass and bowed guitar. ‘Souter’s Lens’ ushers in the analogue synths once more, pulsing electronics evoking in filmic fashion the image of Dr Souter surveying the icily destructive scene which greeted the team and documenting what they found with his camera.
‘A Flag to the Heart’ is another pleasing electro-pop tune. Twinkling synths and an elastic bass-line recall mid-80’s New Order at their most elegiac. I guess it wasn’t quite all ice storms and destruction out there. The ominously cold and distant sounding piano and cold, glitchy electronics return, however, on ‘Ice Bound’. The album closes on ‘60 deg from Lake Vostok’ with widescreen glacial ambience to go with those (mental) images of endless ice. All in all, an arresting listen with some lush cinematic sounds and even some fun electro-pop moments. I think we may need to inspect the doctor’s photographs for some further insight into this particular moment in maritime history.
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- Terra Nova by FOUND
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