David Michael & Slavek Kwi - MMABOLELA [Gruenrekorder - 2015]After weeks of digesting wall noise and sounds residing on the harsher side of the experimental spectrum, I was due for a respite. And what better way to cleanse the palette than to escape into the naked sounds of the natural world as provided by Gruenrekorder and friends. The German-based field recording label (arguably, one of the most prolific in the field recording arena) teams up with Tentacles of Perception Recordings to present MMABOLELA, a 2 x CD by David Michael and Slavek Kwi (Artificial Memory Trace).
On MMABOLELA, both artists present sounds captured at the Mmabolela Reserve, located in the Limpopo province of South Africa. Both artists capture many of the same sounds found in the reserve, with each track title alluding to what animal/insect the listener is hearing. Throughout the 2 discs, we are greeted to an orchestra of indigenous wildlife including: beetles, crickets, hippopotamuses, baboons, bats, toads, terrapins, cicadas, frogs, varieties of birds, and many other sounds of the natural environment. Even in the liner notes, Mr. Michael acknowledges that he and Mr. Kwi recorded many of the exact events, though from slightly different perspectives. If I had to draw a contrast at all, Mr. Michael’s pieces sound like straight, raw field recordings. His pieces flow slowly and you get the sense that he is a patient observer soaking in the repetitive sounds of his natural environment. Mr. Kwi’s pieces sound like there was much more editing in his process and they tend to unfold at a faster pace. It goes without saying that despite the slightly different approaches to the same natural environment, both artists capture Mmabolela’s sounds in pristine clarity.
Once again Gruenrekorder and co have given the listener a ticket to a distant place, most of us will never step foot in. Through these recordings one feels like a world traveler, inspecting the majesty and minute details of Mmabolela’s natural splendors. For those that enjoy field recordings, consider this another worthy entry in your collection.Hal Harmon