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Annea Lockwood - Sound Map of the Housatonic River [3LEAVES - 2013]

Annea Lockwood's "Sound Map of the Housatonic River" is one of many such high definition nature recordings the New Zealand born sound collector has released.  From the title, I expected a field recording album with a lot of faintly lapping water and bugs chirping.  What I did not expect is that it would be absolutely beautiful, listenable and mesmerizing, likely the single greatest field recording album I've heard.

Lockwood focuses not on the surrounding ecosystem, but intently on the water itself.  Especially for a user of psychedelic substances such as myself, it is quite a strange sensation to hear such staggering degrees of wetness and yet remain completely dry.  The microphones are apparently placed either inches from the water, or actually in its path; a person in their position would be utterly drenched.  The water is incredibly vivid, defined, and engulfing.  Played at loud volumes on a good system, this album is a surreal experience like I have never had.

If ever you've enjoyed the bubbling sound of a room of full of fish tanks, the impossible closeness of the soft trickle should be comforting to you.  The ubiquitous and endlessly moving water fades from gentle, unimpeded movement to gushing, threatening blasts.  The more turbulent moments will surely bring to mind any memories one might have of being overwhelmed or controlled by water.

Conclusively, this album shows once again that nature ultimately provides the most uncannily beautiful and complex music, in an incredibly vivid perfectionist level recording.  There are no technical flaws standing in the way of total immersion in this sound environment.  I highly recommend this album even to those skeptical of field recordings, as its beauty is immediately apparent

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

Josh Landry
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