Organized Music from Thessaloniki presents The crystal at the lips, a new album of field-recording-based works by Will Montgomery.
The album compiles two works that explore aspects of space and location recording, but follow significantly different paths in the process. The album’s first track combines two scores by the Wandelweiser composer Manfred Werder in a simultaneous realisation that was first performed at a Bang the Bore event at the Hansard Gallery, Southampton, in June 2013. Werder’s scores offer a series of words that act as springboards for interpretation. Starting from these references, Montgomery assembles a series of location recordings and voice in a dense and episodic layering. The piece becomes an intricate and evolving soundscape, where aural texture and narrative take priority over any possible direct rendering of the environment itself.
‘Filtrate’ is derived from the processing of a location recording made by Kostis Kilymis that blended acoustic feedback tones with the ambient sounds at hand. Montgomery proceeds to strip away ambient elements in the recording and to emphasise the presence of human intervention in the arcs of feedback that appear. What remains, though, is a mix of sounds where traces of the location seep through the filtering, where amplified and environmental sound are bound together in a single impression of space and presence.
The two compositions each ask questions on the relationship between site and field recording. Yet, as musical pieces, they offer an immersive experience of rich detail and texture that is surprisingly direct in its effect.
London-dweller Montgomery works across electronic music, sound art and field recordings. He has released work on the Entr’acte, Winds Measure, nonvisualobjects, Every Contact Leaves a Trace and Cathnor labels, and for many years wrote for The Wire magazine.