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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

Geir Jenssen - Stromboli [Touch - 2013]

Mt. Stromboli, or the Lighthouse of the Mediterranean, is a small volcanic island off of the north coast of Sicily. It has been erupting almost continuously for a several millennium and has regular small eruptions every twenty minutes.  Nature has a way of making beautiful music provided you are listening.  From recordings from deep space to field recordings of wind in the trees we find stark beauty everywhere as if nature herself was a composer.  For most of us the sounds that a volcano makes are completely out of reach and foreign, but now we are lucky, safe at home and far from the heat we can experience them, for Geir Jenssen (aka Biosphere) has brought them to us. 

Stromboli is one of those recordings that is caught between the borders of science and music.  If it is music than I am tempted to call it Real Rock and Roll, because it is dangerous music, as in Jenssen had to put himself at risk to record it.  No matter what we decide to call it its the best record I've heard all year!  The recording is otherworldly with a bizarre stereo field, startling blasts which are storm-like but too brief feel like they are being sucked away.  There are odd gurglings, or is it pressure, or flowing, its hard to tell but the sounds are intense, at times almost like falling jets or perhaps like blow torches exploding.  Amidst all of this violence the recording is somehow peaceful and calm, a perfect soundtrack to Lovecraftian landscapes.  The whole thing definitely gives you a sense of the massive power of the volcano. 
 

The second track "Stromboli Dub" as suggested by the title is the original recording this time with delay added.  While it seems that this would not enhance the recording in anyway it in fact gives you more time to get familiar with every sound and is quite beautiful, tastefully simple.  Sonically it reminds me of a time when I was child and got trapped under water in the white wash of a large wave, if that could be slowed down somehow. 

This record is a wonderful example of how field recordings can be slightly manipulated to create truly unique music, and of the incredible diversity of nature's "natural" music.

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

Jean-Paul Garnier
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