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 Review archive:  # a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z

Justin Bennett - Wildlife [Spore Records - 2008]

Wildlife mangers to mix together field recordings, improvised elements and ambience in a wonderful alien, intriguing, haunting and ultimate hugely compelling packaging.  Itís all the work of uk sound artists Justin Bennett who now resides in the Netherlands.

The albums made using recordings made at zoological & Botanic gardenís  in Berlin, Barcelona, Paris, Amsterdam and Bergen. Along with recordings made during a residence at Nau CŰclea arts centre, Camallera in Catalonia. I think the thing that makes this so rewarding, replay-able and compelling beyond a lot of field recording based work is heís often layering up the field recordings, so for example you may have an animal sound with background crowd noise but then heíll add over the top a strange improvised ,slightly rhythmic or subtle harmonic or drone element. But itís done in such a manner to enhance and make the field recording more captivating, odd and often highly beautiful. With the original sound elements are never getting lost or choked as Bennett skilfully adds in sonic layers. As the album progresses there seems to be more musical like touches added that all culminating in the simply breathtaking and hypnotic track Tiergarten 2, which seems to built around jungle like symphony of  bird sound that is weaved with a graceful and goose-bump inducing beautiful harmonic drone element. Really itís one of the most tranquil and beautiful things Iíve ever heard.

The cdís packaged fittingly in a large fold-out picture poster with black and white photographs from the various zoological & botanic gardenís he visited in making wildlife. A truly wonderful release showing what really artistry, beauty and strange wonder can be made from field recordings if there in the right hands. Certainly this will be somewhere in my best of 08 list- but donít hang about as itís only ltd to 300 copies.

Rating: 5 out of 5Rating: 5 out of 5Rating: 5 out of 5Rating: 5 out of 5Rating: 5 out of 5

Roger Batty
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