THE MILK FACTORY
The concept is pretty simple: take a number of contemporary musicians with a taste for moods and atmospheres,
task them with recording sounds from their favourite places in the world and use them in a composition. This is
exactly what David Newman, head of Audiobulb, did two years ago, and the result was compiled in the first
installment of Favourite Places, with contributions from Biosphere, Taylor Deupree, Claudio, Leafcutter John and
John Kannenberg amongst others. The second volume in the collection brings together musicians from the UK
(Michael Santos, Icarus, Autistici, Calika), Australia (Lawrence English), Belgium (Yannick Franck), Japan
(Sawako), USA (Jeremy Bible, He Can Jog) and Canada (Michael Trommer), giving them each a chance to
introduce their very own favourite place. The booklet accompanying this CD contains photographs and a
description of these spots, providing concrete complements to the recordings.
The locations selected vary greatly here, ranging from the South Downs between London and Brighton (in two
instances), a derelict concrete factory in Ohio, a forest near Brisbane, to a suburban Belgian town, a public
walkway in North London, a bedroom in Brooklyn, or the Peak District National Park near Sheffield, yet, perhaps
due to the very nature of the project and of the artists involved, there are great sonic consistency throughout
the record. Apart for He Can Jog's Erik Schoster who uses his bed as his source location, the other nine artists
use outdoors settings as the starting point for their respective contributions, feeding sounds ranging from wind
sweeping though landscapes or birdsongs to running water, rain or distant traffic noises into densely
atmospheric collages where music often occurs as an impressionist counterpoint.
This especially the case on Lawrence English's opening Quiet Planigale, which originally seems to catalogue all
sorts of birdsongs but eventually gives way to a sombre drone over which lighter fragments of hazy melody take
shape, or on Michael Santos's Perfect Pitch, where field recordings, collected along Parkland Walk, between
Finsbury Park and Highgate, occupy solely the first segment of the track, before outstretched chimes come in,
arranged as to evoke light playing through branches and leaves. Autistici's Winter Heather, Frozen Breath works
on a similar concept, David Newman originally focusing on a walk through the vast spaces of the Peak District
National Park before bringing in gently shimmering sounds to convey an element of the wide open space serving
as inspiration for the track. It is also the format adopted by Michael Trommer on his portrayal of Toronto's
underground pedestrian network for TD Path 6. To complement the urban setting of the opening two and a half
minute, Trommer distils a haunting and dense series of soundscapes in the remaining section of the track,
crystallising the transient aspect of the paths network and its anonymity in a surprisingly vivid way.
Icarus take the concept into a different direction by intricately linking the sounds recorded on the South Downs
(football commentaries on a portable radio, human voices, insects, car noises) and the music they extract from
them, articulating these two phases against each other. This is also partially the case with He Can Jog's extremely
clever Woodbine Entwist, although producing a radically different result. Here, the bed, and by extension the
bedroom, is integrant part of the song, not so much through the sounds used as through the low-fi approach to
the colourful electronically-tainted folk that develops from the experiment, a reminder that the music was recorded
in his own living space.
Like its predecessor, this second volume of Favourite Places collects sounds and impressions, and reflects the
choices made by the various contributors. Frequently characteristic of their usual work, these tracks are like open
windows into the inspiration of musicians, giving an interesting, if often highly unusual and personal, insight into
their intimate spaces.