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Curgenven: Climata (Dragon’s Eye Recordings)

Curgenven’s repertoire as a sound artist is a rather impressive body
of work, often combining field recordings, vinyl and playback
manipulation, synthesis, and minimalism to create subtle but
consuming atmospheres. His latest for Yann Novak’s Dragon’s Eye
imprint pushes even further out from traditional musicality as a
series of inspired documents of site-specific environmental
installations by artist James Turrell. Turrell’s Skyspaces can be
found all over the world, and each one is unique but shares in common
an aperture in the ceiling to the sky. Curgenven made over 200
individual recordings in 15 of Turrell’s 87 Skyspaces and composited
them into these 6 long pieces. The locales range from rural Sweden to
the Swiss Alps snowline, and the breadth of Turrell’s various
Skyspace shapes is covered, including circular, square, elliptical,
and domed spaces. Each track here is a fairly arbitrary 19:20 in
duration (thus totaling an hour per disc) and is a subtly layered and
crafted field of drones, environmental sound, room ambience and
nearly subliminal shifting of focus. It is right at home on Dragon’s
Eye and is likely to appeal to fans of minimal sound design, in the
same vein as Richard Chartier, Francisco Lopez, or even perhaps Alan
Lamb (though the dynamics of his environmental recordings make them a
different animal, I suppose).

Climata by Robert Curgenven

In Climata’s various parts, Curgenven
harnesses the impact of the environment on each space’s unique
acoustics and augments it with his own custom-made oscillators, each
tuned closely to the resonant frequencies of the space being
recorded. The result is an amorphous, subtle series of atmospheres
wherein the biggest player perhaps is the movement of the air itself,
with Curgenven’s quiet drones adding subtle tension and serving as a
unifying thread. He encourages listeners to play back both discs at
the same time, in any combination of tracks, for a variety of
potential permutations, but even on their own each one feels quietly
immersive and meditative. For those interested in the intersection of
site-specific art and acoustic minimalism, Climata delivers on its
premise in spades.

Buy it: Dragon’s Eye Recordings | Bandcamp