Mark Peter Wright Inanimate Life
Posted In: 3Leaves Label, Field recordings, Inanimate Life, Mark Peter Wright, Mark Peter Wright - Inanimate Life, Simon James French
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Inanimate Life is the new release from London based sound artist Mark Peter Wright. The release contains a collection of field recordings made from late 2007 to early 2010 recorded on the North East coast of England…
For a long time I’ve found the art of field recording extremely interesting and it seems that more and more artists are embracing the natural sound of the world and presenting it effectively ‘as is’. Field recording enthusiasts will no doubt be familiar with the work of Chris Watson, whose nature recordings find themselves all over a fair few Touch Records releases. Watson’s recordings are made during his travels of the globe and whilst listening to one of these marvelous releases the listener can be transported from Scotland to Kenya and back again in a total of about 7 minutes.
To this extent it’s true that the art of field recording becomes most exciting when the artist succeeds to transport their listener into an unknown place and present them with sounds they have yet to, or possibly will never hear. It’s about capturing that unheard rare event and presenting it in all of its naked glory. This is true for Inanimate Life where Mark presents a wonderful collection of field recordings that take the listener to the North Eastern coasts of Great Britain where they experience a sound world that perhaps they would not have the thrill of experiencing for themselves.
At very first glance, Inanimate Life does seem to be a documentary of the familiar though. A purposefully non-numerical track listing tells of recordings made of wire fences, water fountains and flag poles. On paper these don’t sound to be all that unique but once you listen to these ten tracks I’m confident that you’ll be pleasantly surprised..
That’s because Inanimate Life is a sonic exploration into the affects that wind has upon physical objects in their natural environment. The idea was born during a time when Wright would take trips to the North East coast of England to simply listen; very closely. What is heard then, in the 52 minutes that makes up Inanimate Life, are 10 of these physical objects that are inextricably manipulated by the wind’s presence. A flag poles’ mast slapping about in the wind, the roots of a heather bush straining under the wind’s forceful push and the rhythmic, almost electronic, sound of a barbed wire fence dancing make this an interesting and surprising listen if you really allow yourself to fall into the rhythmic, but haphazard, qualities that the wind achieves so well.
Included in the catalogue is a smaller rectangular CD that holds a short commentary within which Wright discusses the collection and talks his way through the inspiration and a few of the recordings. This is a fantastic addition that adds to the professional quality of the release. The only downside being that I (and I’m sure I’m not alone) have no player that would take this credit card-sized CD. A download code would rectify this situation and is something that could easily be set up on Bandcamp for those who purchase the album.
Inanimate Life really is a wonderful exploration into natural sound that every field recording enthusiast should own. It succeeds in its aim to present the listener with a unique sonic journey that Mark has carefully and lovingly laid out. Perhaps it’s not an album to hear as simple background sound; the collection needs to be understood and appreciated for its intoxicating rhythms and qualities hidden under the surface. Don a decent set of headphones and don’t hesitate to allow yourself to be transported to the windy moor that Mark urges you to discover.
- Review by Simon James French for Fluid Radio
The album can be ordered from the 3LEAVES store now.