Simon Scott – Soundings

The field recordings on Soundings light up the music and the world. Taken from cities around the globe, and using modular synths, strings, and laptop electronics, the recordings aid in creating music of transition and transience, shifting into many different time zones throughout its trek. Edited and composed in hotel rooms at a time when Simon Scott was on tour as the drummer for Slowdive, Soundings features 85mph winds, bellbirds, and cicadas in the first track alone, moving from its British beginnings (the winds of Storm Barney, which terrorized the UK and which unfortunately wasn’t named after a huge purple dinosaur) to Australia’s Brisbane. In the space of a single track, Scott’s music faces a long haul flight. Although it’s physically demanding, the recording offers an easy ride. Two sides of the world and two different continents are united in one recording, despite travelling a huge distance. As such, Soundings is a travel document and a sonic passport.

I took a home recording I made of Storm Barney in Cambridge, listening to it on repeat when I was flying from continent to continent. I wanted this to be the starting point of the process of musically documenting how much travelling I was doing. It’s the soundtrack to four years of my life in flux with constant change, jet lag, excitement and the seeming perpetual motion of travelling’.

Scott’s music lags without fatigue as it sails through the sky. From the USA to Asia, South America to Europe, the Arctic Circle to the UK (and with a stop in California on the way back), Soundings travels vast distances, picking up the flavors and the vibes of each place while infusing the entire album with a delicate understanding of many differing cultures and scents. Early-to-rise tones and sleepy, dusk-hidden melodies pepper the tracks, but they have an airy feel to them, high in their altitudes. The long drones never really touch down, but only vaguely circle and skirt the outlines of a city. Jet-lagged drones and darker tones gaze upon a midnight city, its glowing lights replacing the sun, its downtown twinkling like a cluster of fallen stars.

Scott’s brief stay offers an intermittent glimpse, a passing through; the music feels intentionally incomplete, or transient, in spite of it being a completed and refined work. Scott is able to bottle the journey within his tired ambient tones and electronic oscillations – which thrum against the drone and shudder like the dropping of a landing gear. The long drones of ‘Apricity’ cruise in the sky, its strings imperceptibly morphing into something more electronic as they make their way home. The exhaustion and euphoria of touring is here, but, as always, the journey is more important than the final destination.

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