repeated gestures in a decaying factory
empty ritual for a globalized reverie
vestige of economic success in a partly deserted industrial area
deafening machinery operated by graduated students
unidentified hydraulic hardware, unusable network of conduits
ricefields turned into industrial reservoir turned into polluted pool
ferns growing on rust, cicadas singing above collapsed concrete roofs
Composition : Yonghe, Taiwan, Winter 2013
Published in Taiwan by Kalerne Editions.
Reference : kal05
Digital version (MP3, OGG, FLAC) and CD also available on Bandcamp.
YANNICK DAUBY - VESCAGNE, SALESE (CD by Kalerne Editions)
Here we have two new releases by Yanick Dauby, who lives and works in Taiwan. The first of these new releases uses 'in-site improvisation and field recordings' from Xinzhuang in Taiwan and judging by the title and the cryptic, poetic words on the inside of the cover, this is done in a factory. It takes a while before arriving at this factory. Somewhere after the twenty-three minute mark we hear a conveyer belt, and you realize this is a factory. It sounds like a loop, but it isn't we hear a phone ringing nearby. After the level of abstraction comes back on: we hear some rumble in a bigger hall, metallic and obscured, ending in a similar drone pattern that we also encountered on the first half of this piece. It's hard to say what Dauby does in this piece that is 'in-site improvisation', but some of the parts here consist of quite unearthly rumble; sometimes there are parts in which we hear the large space in which this factory in located and objects being pushed about. Maybe the more abstracter, dronier bits were derived from this? Maybe that is one assumption. Throughout this piece all of this remains quite dark; quite oppressive also, even maybe a bit depressing. There is no light in this factory. Everything is closed off and just machines intoning away, even when it suggests some human activity. Quite a fascinating release!
More field recordings and in-site improvisations (the cover notes them the other way round here, but I'm reading too much in there) can be found on 'Vescagne, Salese', which is about 'some landscapes of the Mediterranean Alps'. Two pieces here, of which 'Lignete' contains recordings made in a mine in Vescagne and 'Caire Archas' is from the Col de Salese. These pieces are entirely different from the other factory CD. In 'Caire Archas' we listen to the surrounding of a mountain top: lots of bird sounds, maybe a plane in the far away distance (but might also be any distant hum actually) and what seems village life way down below. It ends with what seems an ascendant on ropes, all the way down (I didn't check if this was a really high mountain; it would interrupt my romantic notion of this music). The other piece has a somewhat more hollow, cavernous sound and certainly towards the second half darker moods, but throughout sounds way more open than one would expect probably, based on the other release. More than on 'Caire Archas' this piece seems to have in-site improvisations, rummaging through metallic objects that are (perhaps) to be found on this location. All three pieces found on these two CDs are quite strong in that sense that they tell a story, moving from one part to the next, going round in a factory or mine and being on top of a mountain looking down. Two excellent CDs, based on field recordings, but beyond so much than just field recordings. Very imaginative works. (FdW)
Regardless of the source material, a field recording artist’s goal is always to capture the distinct qualities of a certain location or species. What separates the good from the great, then, is whether or not they’re able to make such a distinction clear and exciting to the listener. The French-born, Taiwan-residing Yannick Dauby has always been particularly good at taking his recordings and compiling them in a way to maximize their intensity. With the ethnographically-minded Taî-pak thiaⁿ saⁿ piàn, Dauby guided us through the gorgeous sounds in and around Taipei. On Arches, he placed listeners inside a distressing landscape filled with the incessant howling of wolves. And then on Wā Jiè Méng Xūn, he wove modular synths and a choir of croaking frogs together into a playful and lively collage. Most of Dauby’s works aren’t “pure” field recordings but his editing is always purposeful and allows for an immersive experience.
Factory is no different; it starts with a simple drone that establishes the album’s ghastly atmosphere but what begins as a monochromatic fog subtly fleshes out into something more sinister. And in its first third, Factory is genuinely terrifying. The faint sounds of machinery suddenly take center stage and the tumbling, stomping, and rattling of various mechanical processes reverberate forcefully. However, there initially isn’t a rhythmic consistency to these noises and it only amplifies the record’s unsettling atmosphere. As a result, the industrial complex of Factory is decidedly different from the printing press of Pali Meursault’s Offset. Dauby isn’t pointing towards the innate musical qualities of the sounds here. Instead, he utilizes a sound design-focused approach with the varying source material to capture the lifeless place he considers this factory, as made clear in the album’s accompanying poem. This mood is so distinctly captured that halfway through the record, the constant rhythm we eventually hear from these machines is as bleak as the human voices alongside them.
With the numerous recordings that Dauby has made throughout his career, it’s clear that he’s immensely interested in exploring the richness of Taiwan’s culture. However, Factory feels more than just a simple constructing of a soundscape; the way he utilizes these recordings from the Xinzhuang district seem like a political statement, or at least a portrayal of his grief regarding the specific effects of industrialization in this region. The record concludes with an extended ambient passage that functions as a meditative postlude. Its static field recordings soon fade out and we’re left with the lonely echoes of a mallet instrument, a sort of acceptance of the current state of things.
- Brian Olewnick
chăng, factory starts with a sense of mystery and vague foreboding somewhat like Geir Jensens’ volcanic field recordings from the island of Stromboli from a couple of years ago, but with man-made rather than natural sources. Committed to his hard-drive, I’m supposing, are sounds from a disused factory in Taiwan. Soon, the music becomes progressively more ambient. That’s “ambient” with a small “a”. You are really aware of the surroundings in this recording, and Dauby clearly set out to develop a lot of ideas in this one 43 minute piece.
This took me back to my own experience of working in the final year of a fine art degree where I and a handful of other students were able to operate mostly unsupervised inside a huge disused door factory. These kinds of places are fascinating; this door factory had huge, dilapidated spaces, walkways and raised offices thirty feet off the ground, still with the occasional brochure or pages from an order book strewn around alongside disused and abandoned old machinery. Pigeons had moved in, perched on the rafters looking down at us. Here, Dauby wrings every last possibility out of the location. I’m becoming obsessed with this piece of work – it releases new and fascinating information with each listen. You can almost hear the walls crumbling with age around you. Sometimes the music is barely audible, as if whatever stimulus Dauby is broadcasting into the environs is wandering off of its own accord and getting lost in the network of chambers.
Kalerne Editions is run by Dauby himself, but is not a label per se, despite also offering works by other field recordists Marc and Olivier Namblard. Rather, Kalerne exists as an easy arena for Dauby to collect his work concerned with “…experimental music informed by environment to naturalist field recordings and sound anthropology…” and to document any collaborative projects within that sphere. Great oversized full-colour sleeve in a substantial protective pvc wallet.
- Paul Khimasia Morgan