Jana Winderen - Energy Field [Touch - 2010]A fair number of us, I think, give some token credence to the concept of the earth as a living thing. This album—the latest since Winderen’s amazing Heated: Live in Japan—brings that notion to life in a way that’s as immediate and physical as the previous album. Like that record, I didn’t just want to listen to this music; I wanted to make a meal out of it.
Across all three tracks—“Aqualculture”, “Isolation/Measurement” and “Sense of Latent Power”—Winderen mixes a broad palette from the sounds of nature into throbbing rivers that converge, divide and rush through the head. Animal cries give way to deep cavernous rumbles; the gurgles and squeaks of rushing water intermix with the bumping and booming of thunder. Most impressive of all is how it’s not just a random unspooling of found sound. It’s been composed and arranged, in ways that don’t seem obvious at first but which reveal themselves over time and multiple listenings.
Underneath the CD, behind the clear plastic disc tray, is a quote that I guess is intended to inspire further thought: “What do you think this is? … A hotel?” If she means the earth itself, it makes sense: we can’t just trash the place and expect room service to come along and clean up after us, something all the more crucial to get through our heads after the Deepwater Horizon blowout. The album as a whole works as an ecological statement without being preachy, just demonstrative: these treasures are what we stand to lose.
Listen on headphones for the most immersive experience possible, or sit between the speakers and silence your phone and pets. The earth may well move for you. Serdar Yegulalp