Karelia: detailed background notes to the compositions

landschaft 002

Release date: 31 December 2006

Re-mix, re-release date: 20 December 2020 Bandcamp digital release. 2006 edition: CDR album in A5 Super Jewel Case. Cover, disc artwork and typography by Landschaft issued as a limited edition with hand printed Japanese paper and an opaque tracing paper overlay with brown vertical title card insertion; subsequent copies presented with an inkjet printed simple sleve in convetional CD case.

Each piece explained - note on re-mix / re-issue

Landschaft album Karelia was written and recorded in 2006. It originally comprised two pieces, Karelia and Narocz each single long format works. It was released in two cover-art formats: As a superjewel case A5 format with hand printed Japanese paper insert and an opaque tracing paper overlay with a further insertion of a brown vertical title card, then as a conventional CD format with simple white title card. Both were imprinted on high quality Taiyo Yuden CDRs; no on-cd printing, only a single black dot on the non -playing surface to clue the listener to which way to insert to a player device. In 2020 I rekindled Landschaft in 2020 after a 10 year hiatus with plenty of time on my hands during Covid19 pandemic lockdown. Bandcamp is now available as a distribution platform with a good business model that shares profit equitably. New digital tools and more powerful computing have expanded the potential for home studio based recording. All of these factors made a remix worthwhile. I also had an un-released work from the original Karelia sessions that I have now titled Aurora. The original works were a little muddy in the lower frequencies and the high end was under emphasised. This remix comprises frequency suppression and lift respectively. I also ran the raw signal through a modern high quality reverb. 'New' piece Aurora I like a lot. It fills a CD on it's own, making Karelia a double cd album now. I've not [yet] burned any CDRs but may do so sometime. None of the three pieces include any addition or subtraction of instrumentation. This is simply a quality improvement project. I've made a square version of my original A5 format artwork for Bandcamp. Karelia is a landscape piece, a sound picture; Narocz has a more complex inspiration source tied to my first 'Indistinct Borders' album, both tying to Lisiewicz' travelogue 'Chronicals of Lake Narocz' noted below and represented in full on this website; my enduring beacon to his forgotten masterpiece. Aurora is a mood work, no words necessary. All of my work, Karelia included is created with and for headphones listening. I find headphones allows for greater precision in creating a 3d stereo space and getting relative amplitude and frequency balance more tightly focussed. If the listener does wish to play these works through speakers, they need to good ones and very well anchored in a room with no resonant surfaces to avoid intrusive vibrations.

The mood is dark green, shot with splashes of sunlight glimpsed through trees.

Each piece explained - original release note

Title piece, Karelia is a 35 minute monophonic tone, the sounds drifting organically, with simple response to the monophone's call was then etched into the soundscape. The piece draws inspiration from the boundless forest wastes of Karelia.

Partner piece, Narocz is a wash of marching pebbles across a forgotten shoreline. Inspired by a long out of print autobiographical travelogue "Chronicles of Lake Narocz" by Polish author Mieczyslaw Lisiewicz. Throughout the book Lisiewicz paints a an astonishing portrait of Lake Narocz. The author writes of what was between the wars a holiday resort. Less than 10 years previously the lake had been engulfed by the Lake Naroch Offensive, an ultimately failed Russian tactical bettle. The hostilities left the landscape and lake bed strewn with the detritous of war. The book presents a pre-Ballardian view of this transformed landscape. I have placed a full transcript of the book to read in my History section.

Karelia album reviews

Respected Electronica artist, Mark Tamea provides this review on 4 October 2007. Explore Mark Tamea's work at www.tamea.org I am indebted to Mark for this review.

Karelia is an album composed of two parts, the title track itself, and a second companion piece, Narocz.

.Karelia is a drone-based journey. A slowly ebbing, slightly foreboding but yet compellingly inviting tone undulates as if an audible representation of a gravity wave. This tone is constructed from deep, yet empty space, and is the medium which supports the further activities unfolding within this framework.

Cold strands of channeled harmonic threads are piped out into this vacuum, ringing out as if the remnants of signals broadcasted from a long extinct source. The sound is magnitudinally empty, as all good universes should be, and gives the distinct impression of incomprehensible cosmic distances.

My mind references side one of Eno's Apollo (for those of us with vinyl copies...), but then Kubrick's 2001 A Space Odyssey comes along and just kicks that out... This is edgy work, slightly scary, stringing me along by my own curious intrigue, leading my imagination across the blackness because I need to know whats out there. Play this in your own comfortable darkness.

Narocz is perhaps the sound of arrival. Here the drones are replaced by softly shimmering metallic cascades, supported by waves from a warm glossy sheened wind. It's an auditory lifeform, and the seductive sound that it emits begins to draw me further into its belly. I'm slowly being swallowed into a swamp of alien chatter, enveloped, assimilated, perhaps digested, but with full consent. It feels too good to try and back out.