Rodolphe Alexis - Morne Diablotins [Gruenrekorder - 2013]Morne Diablotins finds Paris based field recordist & sound artists Rodolphe Alexis offering up near on seventy three mintues worth of bird, amphibian, insects and environment recordings from the Caribbean islands of Dominica and Guadaloupe. With the release posing the question ‘What did the Caribbean islands sound before the arrival of Colombus?’
The CD release takes in eight tracks in all, and these last between just over the minute mark, to just shy of the twenty nine minute mark. These tracks take in untreated recordings made by Mr Alexis in early 2013, at various sites in the national parks of Dominica and Guadaloupe. And these purely natural recordings attempt to take us back in time to the year 1493, when Colombus first discovered both islands.
I found the album started off been sonically pleasing, though more than a little underwhelming- you see it opens up with three tracks that each last between two & five mintues piece, and each these of just focus in on sonically attractive if not very engaging or rewarding parrot & exotic bird song ‘n’ chatter.
From track four onwards I found things became a bit more interesting & appealing- track four “Grand Etang at Dusk” finds Alexis taking us on a just under nineteen minute trip into the rich & detailed sonic world of Guadeloupe at dusk, with a rewarding sound map made up of thrush twitter, thrasher chirp, & tree fog chatter.
With the highlight here been the just under twenty nine mintues of “A Night in Grand Bay”- which captures the night time sounds of Guadeloupe, with it’s detailed & slowly shifting sound scape taking in: layered mix of harmonic bird song & constant grasshopper buzz. Through to close-up, then distancing sound of rushing waterfall & bird song textures. Onto rain down pours & rich/ layered birdsong structures, back to sududed & thinning out mixture of bird & insect sound.
As always with Gruenrekorder releases, sound wise the recordings here are crystal clear & wonderfully captured. Also the release comes in a rather hansom colour digipak, which takes in pictures of birds, parrots and frogs from the islands of Dominica and Guadaloupe.
So to sum-up Morne Diablotins started off pleasing-if-a-little-bland, but the later & longer tracks were far more engrossing & rewarding as Alexis really managed to capture the rich sonic structure of the islands wildlife & it’s natural surroundingsRoger Batty