Anne Guthrie - TrainDCtoNYApril2008 (mp3 extract)
. point engraved edition eg.p04
. Limited edition full sized Taiyo Yuden cdr mounted on art card.
1) Beacon NY
2) Union station, Washington DC
3) Train from Washington DC to Penn station NYC
. 'standing sitting' presents 3 extended compositions for subtly treated field recordings of an art space, a train station & a train journey. Anne's work with field recordings shows a simple, yet richly evocative grasp of the nature of the spaces we inhabit & I am very pleased to be releasing these pieces on Anne's first solo edition.
also available as a digital download:
review by Richard Pinnell (the watchful ear):The CDr is released on Jez riley French’s Engraved Glass label as part of the .point engraved series of short run releases. This one came out recently alongside a 3″ disc by Michael Pisaro and Greg Stuart that is extremely good.
There are three tracks here, totaling more than forty-five minutes in length. Each of the tracks is made up from subtly treated field recordings, one each made at an art space in New York, Union Station in Washington DC and during a train journey from DC to New York. I’m not certain how the recordings have been treated, but the tracks that we hear all have that submerged, blurry feel to them, a grey coloured patina of haziness through which little details peak through. The first nine minute long piece, named Beacon, NY uses material gathered at the DIA arts space in Beacon NY. Much of what we hear on this piece feels like the resonant echoes through long corridors or big empty rooms, air con humming in the background, unidentifiable bangs and thuds somewhere in one of the far corners of the building, snippets of human conversation along the corridor and occasional footsteps on hard floors heard breaking through. Everything is soft, presented at low volume with the harsh edges seemingly rounded off. The treatment of the recordings seems to be just to push all of the sounds together into one aural space, giving us a grey mass of vague detail that suggests a mood and a place without ever clarifying anything fully.
The source sounds for the second piece, Union Station, Washington DC are obvious, and here Guthrie’s music reminds me most of the late night city, though clearly what we actually hear is a combination of roaring mechanical and industrial sounding engines, all muted slightly with the hustle and bustle of human activity in a busy, enclosed public space blended in throughout. Again nothing is crystal clear and what we have is a kind of impressionistic take on field recording presentation that almost sounds better if allowed to just exist gently in the room rather than studied up close. The final piece Train from Washington DC to Penn Station, NYC uses a similar technique, the sounds we hear vaguely reminiscent of train sounds, the experience of a long railway journey present in the music. Yet with the exception of a moment where onboard announcements break through with more clarity than usual, again the sounds hint at an overall sensation of place and time rather than referencing anything obviously.
Guthrie seems to play with mood here rather than dramatic structure or dynamic playfulness. There are none of the sudden cuts or momentary contrasts that seem to be commonplace in a lot of field recording arrangement these days. The shape and form of the music is mostly flat and seemingly dull, but the lovely power of this great music comes from the subtle suggestions that it exudes, feelings of inexplicable familiarity, sounds that tap into something we unconsciously think we have heard before, in my case the aural picture from a city centre hotel room, perhaps something different for others. As someone that finds the sound of large public spaces, railway stations, airport waiting lounges, art galleries to be thoroughly beautiful in themselves, the way Standing sitting reflects these situations really works for me anyway, capturing the essence of a space without pinning it down to any particular time. For me this is beautiful music, a modern day portrait of a set of very modern landscapes, reflecting the ugliness of busy 21st Century life in a hazy mirror that blurs the harshness of it all, pushing it just far enough out of reach. A really nice album.
review from Brian Olewnick:
As beautiful as Pisaro's release is, please don't ignore this lovely one from Anne Guthrie. I'd only known her work in association with musicians like Richard Kamerman and Billy Gomberg where she generally wields a french horn. Here we have three processed field recordings, one recorded in DIA Beacon, the other two from a train station and aboard a train. Not so dissimilarly from work Pisaro has done before, Guthrie interweaves sine tones (or something akin; I'm not quite sure) with the recordings, creating a dreamy between-world of the real and the shimmering. The DIA piece resonates with the kind of disembodied, space-molded voices and sounds one encounters in large interiors like those found in that converted factory, here underlain with hums that, in this case, recall the sound installation on DIA's rooftop by the late Max Neuhaus. The sine tones seem to have been applied intuitively, Guthrie allowing the field recordings to sit by themselves for a while, to establish a presence (very beautifully), then to be accompanied. It's difficult to describe why this works so well except to accede to the composer's ear and the choices she makes, but the impression, again, is of being hyper-aware, of a space and, too, picking up subliminal frequencies normally outside the range of hearing, these tones enhancing the overt sounds and imparting an air of wonder. Very impressive work.
from 'the wire' (july 2010 issue) review by Jim Haynes:
'An album of processed field recordings from specific locations, Standing sitting emphasises the sonic residues of architectural spaces. Filtered tones from the resonance of various pipes & conduits, the vibrations of electrical motors and the broad echo of cavernous halls all feature prominently in the sounds that Anne Guthrie chooses to work into composition. Many of the edges of her sounds have been blurred and smoothed, offering a soft focus quality, in particular to those sounds culled from the DIA centre in Beacon, NYC. Like the DIA centre, Guthrie's other subjects touch on the grandeur of massive architectural forms - Penn Station in NYC and Union Station in Washington DC. She's wise in her slow pace and deliberate injunctions of environmental hiss and subharmonic rattlings, which are only occasionally punctuated by a human presence. Certainly, on the strength of this recording, Guthrie's a composer to watch for in the near future'