In this era of uncertainty and shaken normalities, we are forced to confront a different landscape in society – one which has modified our interactions with people and nature. There is a sense that the zeitgeist, the spirit of the times, has shifted further into the dystopian territory. “Faraway Vicinity” is the amalgamation of these landscapes – human and non-human, familiar and unknown – to construct a sonic world that mirrors these strange times. But more importantly, it hopes to bring a familiar peace to these unfamiliar places. If there’s any silver lining to this current situation, it must be that it gave us a chance to pause and reflect upon what it takes to live with joy or prosperity. It was precisely in this condition where Kin Leonn (Singapore) and Hiroshi Ebina (Tokyo, Japan), separated by land and sea, created this work.
The opening track “Forest future” conceives a hybrid landscape, a digital ravine overrun by strange phenomena. The piece begins with a myriad of insect calls and chirps, recorded in the hills of Ipoh, Malaysia. These sounds are manipulated and juxtaposed with other field recordings, as well as a plethora of synthesized “insect” noises.
In strict and abrupt contrast, the second track “Human crossing” immediately enters a quiet soundscape. The artists are now mostly playing acoustic instruments such as piano, music box, glockenspiel, and kalimba, while accompanied by gentle, organic-sounding electronics. The piece represents the tamer side of nature and humanity – conveying soft, intimate feelings towards the environment and people.
“A secluded channel” paints a peculiar, melancholic picture of desolate trees rustling in the sea breeze – perhaps in a dystopian age where such untouched beauty would be even harder to come by. The piece begins with synthesized swells, composited with field recordings of rustling leaves and ocean waves to create a movement that is breathing and organic. On top, a set of chimes sways and glitches curiously in the wind. The piece ends with a cathartic brass progression and emotional harmonies, suggesting that there might still be some hope in this future we are stepping into.
“Faraway Vicinity” closes with “Leaving home for the fields.” The track pays homage to the concept that this simple act of leaving home, at the time of the recording, was one which was mostly discouraged or prohibited in many countries due to the pandemic – thus depriving many humans of their contact with wild nature.
“Faraway Vicinity” will be released across all digital formats and as a limited run of 100 cassettes via KITCHEN. LABEL. Chihei Hatakeyama mastered this recording in Tokyo, Japan.
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