Under the arches of her voice
Socrates Martinis is an artist living and working in Athens. His new, short-ish release, clocking in at around 25 minutes, sits somewhere in the ambiguous grey zone between field recordings and noise music, piecing together found sounds and those made using various objects in a sequential (but not necessarily narrative) way. At one point I think I hear a faint whisper of air and objects being moved around in a reverberant open space, possibly the arches referred to in the title and featured on the cover, but for the most part sounds happen in an unidentifiable non-place. Various whirrings, hummings, rumblings, clatterings, and sizzlings paint a vaguely industrial and mechanical sort of picture, and at one point I think I hear the muted clunking of a train.
Martinis doesn’t seem in a hurry to get anywhere in particular, nor to dazzle the senses with electroacoustic fireworks. Instead, the slow-paced cutting from one sonic framing to the next, lingering on each sound in isolation like a shot of a field or a table and chair in European realist cinema, is both calm and calming. Some of the sounds, like a battery-powered whirring on the second track or the prickly noise at the start of the fourth, are barely audible. Even when the volume is ramped up a little, such as with the (relatively) loud mechanical droning on the fifth track, the sound lasts a long time without changing. I find this approach utterly absorbing, at least when I’m relaxed enough and have enough energy to sit still and listen. It’s like looking out of the window of a quiet train as it rumbles from nowhere to nowhere, with nothing to think about, nothing to feel, and yet feeling everything.
Cover image by Nicolas Ioannidis