(Herbal)

“Osorezan” is a collection of field recordings gathered by French sound artist Eric Cordier between 1993 and 2007 in France and Japan. The CD comes splendidly packaged, each piece paired to a magnificent picture somehow related to the track and the location where it was captured on tape. A booklet containing notes about the compositions completes the offer, which – let me be perfectly clear – is one of the very best assemblages of natural and human ambiences that I’ve ever heard. The tracks exploit totally different settings with knowledgeable accuracy and care for the particular, demonstrating Cordier’s uncanny ability in describing a landscape or a pre-determined situation as a whole image while maintaining minute details clearly visible. The primary sources were the bubbling gas in the sulphureous waters of a volcano, a ferryboat on the Seine river, a “phantom bridge” in a isolated marine area, a ceremony that happens on a yearly basis near the creator’s hometown, the typical sonic attributes of a summer afternoon in a small village. Every environmental frame reveals its own fascinating blend of calls and presences; during the rare moments in which noise appears, it becomes an obvious consequence of something that seems to have been predicted. The preparation of a ritual bonfire accompanied by the tolling bells of a rural town. The whistling of the metallic structures of an unfinished construction elicited by the ocean wind. The innumerable species of birds. The various gradations of hiss amidst the boiling water. The majestic roar of an airplane in a silent country setting. The sense of solitude and, at the same time, of immensity that being alone in a meadow causes. It’s all here, recorded without tricks or façades, no hidden meanings or subterranean intentions. The essential sounds, just as they are. That means wonderful, especially in absence of people.

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