PETER CUSACK – Baikal Ice (Spring 2003)

(Rer Megacorp)

I will promptly admit that I’ve always been partial to Peter Cusack and his tremendous work with environmental recordings; “Baikal ice” could well be his chef d’oeuvre, such is the fascinating beauty of these unrefined sounds. Of course, melting ice is the prime mover of this record: Cusack managed to capture every conceivable gradation of the magic potion originated by icicles and water currents, in a fantastic resurgence of tangible elemental untaintedness. In other noteworthy segments, children play with a loudspeaker in the quiet village while a bird sings, the Trans Siberian railway stamps its reverberant dominance over the silence, a local telephone engineer falls into the lake through a thin ice hole (then, we are told, he offered tea to Cusack while drying himself in his van) and a little girl sings her innocence on a train. All the sounds on this CD can infuse our lives with intriguing perspectives about the transfiguration of our way of listening to events that – normal as they are for someone – become instead a charming mutiny against the very banality of our daily mental numbness.

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