Naturestrip is very proud to present surfacedrift, the debut cd from Melbourne sound artist tarab (Eamon Sprod). Constructed from field recordings and improvisations, using natural and artificial sources combined to form richly layered sonic environments.
Traces of sonic texture created by microphones dragged through leaves and gravel. Rain pounding against buildings.Waves crashing inside of an abandoned factory. Surfaces against surfaces, scraping against one another. Marks are left.
Capturing the subtle detail of decay appearing from within the heavy atmospheres of a larger space, surfacedrift explores the simultaneous layering of interior and exterior, solid and liquid. The four pieces evolve with an intuitive logic, drifting through literal material evocations of place, and hypothetical imagined spaces.
tarab explores re-contextualised collected sounds and tactile gestures formed into dynamic, psycho-geographical compositions inspired by discarded things, found things, crawling around in the dirt, junk, the ground, rocks, dust, wind, walking aimlessly, scratchy things, decay and most if not all the things he hears and sees.
More than simply documenting a given site, tarab is interested in a direct engagement with our surrounds, teasing out half narratives, visceral sensation, false leads and heightened awareness.
"Surfacedrift is the impressive debut for Melbourne’s Eamon Sprod, who has adopted the moniker Tarab for his exploration of field recordings coupled with found object improvisation. Each of the four lengthy tracks maps out a psychogeography through sound, specifying the intimate details of these environments and accentuating the pre-existing natural elements with sympathetic textures provided by Sprod. Most of the time, his hand (which can be heard rustling leaves or dragging objects through gravel) is perfectly attuned to the natural settings, so as to render his own scrabblings almost indistinguishable from his recordings of wind, violently creaking door hinges, waves lapping at coastal boulders and rain water spewing out of a clogged gutter. Where the boundaries between what are natural and performative are blurred on Surfacedrift, Sprod’s compositional wandering through his complex spaces recalsl the intuitive collaging of material found in Francisco Lopez’s epic La Selva and Chris Watsons Weather Report."
The Wire - Jim Haynes
“Tarab’s debut CD, “surfacedrift”, expands on the ideas shown in “Of hollow traces” and does so with depth and beauty. “
Bagatellan – Brian Olewnick
"In concrete music, space dimension and sound placing are everything, more or less the key to an active participation by the listener. "Surfacedrift" by Eamon Sprod AKA Tarab is put together with class and extreme care of the acoustic detail, as a single entity but also in a group of concordant events. Sprod takes any challenge like the most obvious and natural thing to do, using natural elements' intrinsic value as means of personal contact with the world around; he just cuts a way to a listening experience that includes daily life timbres - the rain, a creaky door, liquids flowing into cups or bottles - gently mutated and inserted in your own environment after electronic/ambience treatment, therefore introducing fresh perspectives to otherwise easy to forget manifestations. Tarab's research is extremely focused, never intransigent; challenging and stimulating, the whole work pays back your attention with its resplendence and limpid character."
Touching Extremes – Massimo Ricci
"Eamon Sprod (aka Tarab) is a name you don't come across everyday; and I swear that I've heard something by this Australian sound artist somewhere along the way. While I could be remembering a track on some obscure Australian compilation, I am probably mistaken as Surfacedrift is his debut recording. Given the high quality of this record, I should have been listening to Sprod's work for many years along with all of those Hazard, Francisco Lopez, and Loren Chasse records that I constantly return to. This unfortunate lapse of memory could also be the result of wandering through Sprod's psychogeographic soundfields. Surfacedrift is a disorienting album, which implodes the perspectives of sound by amplifying the miniscule and softening the impact from environmental recordings. Sprod massages richly textured passages from crumpled leaves, spilled water, and tumbling rocks; he couples these haptic events with field recordings. As everything is so seemless, it's hard to tell if Sprod had actually recorded these rock garden symphonies out of doors (a la Blithe Sons), or if there's a fair amount of production work synthesizing the field recordings with the performative elements. An very impressive debut to say the least!"
- Aquarius Records
"This is a journey into sound."
If we can bypass for a while the cheesy ambient chillout connotations and po-mo irony that the phrase invokes, then we can consider that this is indeed what surfacedrift is. Not a "psychedelic" journey, enhancing some sort of altered state, but a carefully guided journey into focussed and attentive listening. These are pieces recorded and mixed with an ear that obviously delights in the textural complexities and aural subtleties of our everyday soundworld. Environmental recordings of the likes of open fires, rainstorms, birdsong and ocean waves are amplified, layered and re-contextualised to form the basis of the mixes of these tracks. Sonic minutiae are repositioned and foregrounded into new and sharper juxtapositions. Regular dynamic and volume relationships are altered–askew. There is a feeling of being drawn into a familiar soundspace, but at the same time reverberant spaces and aural cues seem slightly disorienting, perspectives are shifted and blurred.
Favourable and well-deserved comparisons have already been made with the structured field recordings of Chris Watson’s Weather Report and Francisco Lopez’ La Selva. This is high praise indeed as these CDs (the latter especially for me) are classics of this genre. However what sets this work apart from other purely environmental collages/remixes is the way that these environmental recordings are layered and offset with the improvised playing of found objects. It is here that Tarab’s (Eamon Sprod) live performance techniques intersect with his mixology. In performance Sprod performs using a variety of materials such as rocks, leaves, scrap metal and glass as his sound sources. Using techniques such as rubbing, scraping or dragging he is able to generate a wide palette of textures and rhythmic impulses in much the same way as that most unheralded of sound practitioners, the foley artist. Here however, these foley-style gestures are not aimed at reinforcing the believability of visual imagery or to sync action with sound, but to enhance and subtly focus the environmental recordings. They are mixed so that it is often impossible to tell what is played and what is environmental sound. The intention is not to draw attention to any distinction between performed or environmental sound–the two combine synergistically, complimenting and reinforcing each other to produce a familiar yet hyper-real soundspace. Definitely a journey into sound worth taking.
- Earbash - Tim Catlin
Naturestrip is an independent Australian sound and art supporter that has evolved to fund and assist a variety of projects.
Visit website for more information. Naturestrip started life in 2003 releasing seven albums creating quite a following in the world of experimental sound. It focused on working with artists who created compositions using field recordings as material in their art making....more