Dark Sound – Review # 02


Dark Sound by Frans de Waard at Vital Weekly (1037)

The other release is a hardcover book, 176 pages, so one has to read something during these sixty-four minutes of music that can be found on the pitch black CD. At least if you mastered either Huao, Basque, Spanish or English, and you are willing to sit either in sunlight or a strong lamp: the whole book is black ink on paper, so not easy to read. The whole thing is about the oil industry and how they destroy our planet. The price of the book is “set by the crude oil Brent price (LCO)”, so it fluctuates on a daily basis (check out the label’s website for that). Ah, but making books is also not very ‘green’, you could remark, but the author beat you there too: “by buying this book you are contributing to the destruction of the planet”, it says on the back. Thankfully I got mine for free; I must not think how it got here anyway, by car or perhaps even by plane but surely an oil using device.

Huao, one may wonder, is the language as spoken by the Huaorani people in Ecuador and whose land is under siege by the oil industry, and that what this highly politically motivated book is about, hence the excessive use of the colour black. Their environment is what we hear on the (also black, but maybe not a CDR?) musical component of this package. There are lots of wildlife, rain, and thunder sounds but also the sounds of the oil industry. Of course I should say about the latter they are ‘awful’ sounds, but it makes up a fascinating listening experience, moving from one sound into the next; the whole piece has thirty-four different segments, but it is cut as one piece on the disc, perhaps to suggest a unity of location. Nieto, who is from a Basque background, in case you were wondering why that language is part of this, created a great imaginative piece of sound art based on totally contrasting field recordings.

Meanwhile you can read the book, obviously, but I must admit I found it not easy to read, or even to search for those bits that were in English, as the four languages are together, arranged per chapter/section. Holding this against the light, concentrating really hard to decipher it, made me think: ‘okay, I sympathise with this message, even if I can’t find the concentration to take it all in’. But this is all together an excellent political statement.

05. July 2016 by MikelRNieto
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