The music of Kate Carr draws heavily on field recordings, and her early work often features the distinctive aural environment of her then-home city of Sydney, Australia. Since she moved to Europe in 2014, the change in location has produced a corresponding shift in the colours and timbres of her music. Carr now resides in London, which still seems to draw artists like moths to a flame despite the punishing costs of living there. Her new release “I Ended Out Moving To Brixton” is a love letter of sorts to her particular corner of the vast city, a missive in which passion seems tempered by an awareness of some of the darker sides of inner urban life.
No birds squawk or chatter here like they do in Sydney — in fact, I don’t recall hearing a single bird sound at all. Instead, the following fragments: street conversations, police sirens, political canvassers, football matches, church services, passing traffic. Frequent snippets of other people’s music, something of a Carr trademark. The pace of editing — with very different sounds and sounding environments coming and going fairly rapidly — helps to create the impression of a densely populated city with lots of people going about their daily lives right next to one another (or sometimes, as the overlapping of different sounds suggests, over the top of each other). The rapid cuts don’t give us chance to learn much about the people and places we encounter, who remain anonymous strangers.
That this is more a subjective hearing of a place than a factual document is made clear by the use of synth chords, wobbly guitar, and percussive sounds to create a moody, downbeat atmosphere. Repetition adds rhythm and structure, yet also expresses Carr’s delight in particular sounds, such as the rise and fall in a young man’s proud description of his gentrification sandwich. To be honest, some of the sounds, such as the Tube announcements, strike me as clichéd and unnecessary; my favourite ones are those that are ambiguous and uncertain in origin, that hover vaguely in the background while having a very palpable effect on how the sounding environment is perceived. Towards the end the mood turns particularly sombre, and the rate of change slows somewhat, suggesting that not all is bright and sunny in this district of London. Carr’s attachment to her new home is nonetheless clear.[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/405503289″ params=”color=#ff5500&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false&show_teaser=true” width=”100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true” /]