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Mapless electroacoustic drone label Helen Scarsdale releases another tape by sound excavator Kate Carr, whose recent output has offered a stunning collation of postcard sonics and deep sunken ambient. Her latest tape for the label, The Story Surrounds Us, is another submerged opus of song and setting, with guitars, pianos and other melodic elements meeting environments that move like instruments themselves.

Tape £9.49 HMS 041

Cassette tape on The Helen Scarsdale Agency.

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The Story Surrounds Us by Kate Carr
1 review. Write a review for us »
9/10 Ant Staff review, 24 May 2017

As the sound of a creaking door opens ‘The Story Surrounds Us’ it relays the sense that we as listeners have been invited into very intimate, mysterious personal space - that being the mind of Kate Carr. The delicate guitar that follows, welcomes us further in, sounding uncannily familiar. Once inside, however there’s an underlying, restless sense of unease as though when sifting through and assembling her environmental recordings she’s trying to make some kind of sense of a world that often doesn’t make sense.

By the time we arrive at ‘We Were The Pulse Of A Wire Pulled Tightly’ it’s like when Roddy Roddy Piper puts on the glasses in ‘They Live’ and can see reality for what it actually is - the truth behind the slogans and the aliens that walk among us -- but in this case it’s as though we’ve put on a pair of headphones that reveal the resonant frequencies of things that remain invisible; gases, heat energy, radiation, radio signals all appear to be singing as we’re listening to these previously hidden layers. There are clues in a few track titles as to where she’s been placing her microphones on her travels, but these really feel far from standard field recordings. The sort of trans-dimensional elements bleed into one another on the ghostly ‘For All This Long And Hopeless Year’ and tracks like the bleached ethereal pop of ‘There Was A Lot Of Whispering Involved’ really add to the whole familiar / totally mysterious dynamic of the album.

There are instantly recognisable sounds; water, fireworks and even the sound of telecommunications wires as pioneered by Alan Lamb but it’s those acousmatic elements that really amplify the mundane and make this tape super intriguing.


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