This past summer Australia suffered the most intense, uncontrolled and damaging bush fires we have ever faced. It was a harrowing start to the year and a reminder of the fragility of where (and how) we live. As the fires raged on, two of our friends and artists Merzbow and Chris Watson, both contributed pieces which we used to raise donations for a variety of fire relief charities.
A couple of weeks ago, my friend Ian Wellman (a celebrated composer and dedicated field recordist) contacted me to see if Room40 would be interested in supporting a fire relief project to assist those communities and ecosystems decimated by wild fires on the North American west coast. I was only too happy to assist.
Ian has curated an amazing collection of artists here, I hand it over to him to him to explain further.
Field recordings can be a sonic document of the characteristics of a space and time. A capsule for the memories of a place.
For this project, I had asked artists to send archival recordings of spaces affected by the recent fires on the West Coast. As our loved forests begin to heal and neighborhoods rebuild, these recordings give us a positive place to visit and remind ourselves of how they once sounded.
Given the entire west coast of the United States was affected very hard this year by the wildfires, it felt best to find artists who live in or have spent meaningful time in these spaces. For me, it was best to bring together artists with a large range of backgrounds, from experimental music groups, composers, sound artists (some of whom are massive pillars of support for their communities), and sound designers for film and audio.
All of these artists mutually bring much inspiration from these areas that were devastated by the wildfires. Andy Martin repeatedly told me Sinlahekin Valley is his favorite place. The funds from this compilation will go towards Latino Community Fund’s Norcal Wildfire Relief Fund, Direct Relief’s Wildfire funds, and GoFundMe’s Wildfire Relief Fund.
I extend a massive thanks to the artists whose generous spirit and keen ears make this project possible and also to Lawrence and Room40 for helping pull it all together.