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Yann
Novak: Surroundings (LINE)

Los
Angeles-based sound and visual artist Yann Novak’s Surroundings
originated
as a site-specific sound performance commissioned for the Hamon
Observation Tower at the de Young Museum in San Francisco by the
Soundwave Biennial. Like many of Novak’s recordigs, Surroundings
lives as both a document of context as well as its own meditative
musical statement. The environment of the deYoung lends its acoustics
as Novak gradually fades in his signature radiant haze. His cloud of
shapeless drones is accentuated by field recordings of the
surrounding Golden Gate Park, with Novak’s swarm of electronics and
environmental recordings embedded within one another. As a result,
the album serves as a document of this particular time(s) and
place(s) but also stands alone as its own self-contained drone.

Surroundings by YANN NOVAK

One
might argue that by virtue of deliberately sourcing sounds from the
space and surrounding park, Surroundings is, at its core, the
antithesis of ambient listening; this is not music that is intended
to fade into wallpaper but instead serves as a living, breathing,
in-the-moment experience that encourages listeners to hear its quiet
details and environmental resonance. At 28 minutes, it’s a shorter
one from Novak, whose releases on his own Dragon’s Eye label are
often at least an hour, but it makes sense given its installation
context; most passersby won’t be likely to stick around for a full
hour. In the bigger picture of Novak’s repertoire as a sound artist
(and considering it more as standalone audio, free of context),
Surroundings feels like yet another piece within the scope of his larger ongoing
body of minimal sound work, set apart only slightly by its marriage of inspired site specific collaborations with the
sublime, electronic atmospheres at which Novak so often excels. Deep,
meditative, and immersive; highly recommended.

Buy it: Bandcamp