Formerly working with the likes of Sarah Hennies, Yvette Janine Jackson and La Monte Young, Australian cellist Judith Hamann explores field recordings, musique concrete and electro-acoustics for her first solo release, Peaks. Inspired by her time living in America and put together during an artist’s residence in Austria, it consists of two side-long pieces.
Vinyl LP £20.99 Black Truffle 066
LP on Black Truffle. Design by Lasse Marhaug. Photos by Judith Hamann. Mixed and mastered by Alan F Jones.
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I really like the idea of this album. With ‘Peaks’ Judith Hamann has created something of a musical passport. Not in the ‘you need this little book to cross an imaginary line on pain of death’ type of way, but in the ‘hey, wow, look at all these nice stamps from all the places I’ve been’ way. She has made recordings all over the world, around Europe and North America, and stitched them together to make a document of her journeys, one that is completely unique to her, and all the more evocative for it
Her main practice is the cello, and so rightly the instrument takes its place at the very start of the album. ‘signal/centinela’ starts with Hamann playing long and mournful notes on the instrument while singing to make a gentle yet affecting discord. It’s joined by a piano, clearly recorded in a different space. Eventually the cello makes a return, but now it’s somewhere else. We’re used to hearing the same instruments put through different effects, but here the effects are just different space and different times. It creates a familiarity with Hamann’s own cello that is unusually strong.
The second track under/over veers away from the yellow towards a stream, some static, a conversation, an organ, and all sorts of unidentifiable ambiences that Hamann has documented. Unidentifiable to anyone but Hamann. I think that’s important, as it means that ‘Peaks’ allows us to enjoy different places as the spaces they are.
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