This year I decided to take part in the World Listening Day for the first time.
My composition, Samtana, has been featured in a compilation prepared by the net-label Sonic Terrain.
This is a composition created from field recordings made in June and July 2015. It’s an interpretation of the behavior of water in two distinct milieus. It focuses on the contrast between the unaltered sounds of water in countryside areas and its characteristic in an urban environment, where the flow of water is heavily modified by the needs and fancies of human culture. The piece has a tripartite structure: it is opened and concluded with the sounds of small, peaceful rivers flowing through rural areas. Its middle part however is a meditation on the sonic aspect of water determined by the context of a big city. There, the water partakes in the urban commotion and even intensifies it, sometimes morphing into a wall of white noise.
The sources used in this piece are the Mala Panew and Rudawa rivers of southern Poland, and several fountains in the city of Kraków (Cracow). The title, Samtana (saṃtāna) is a Sanskrit word meaning “continuity”. It reflects the fundamental biological and cultural aspect of flowing water, as well as my personal history: born and raised in the countryside, I moved into the city, but currently I am slowly drawn back again into the country.
I have also made a recording for the Sound Waves compilation, which is a initiative of Stuart Fowkes from the Cities & Memory website. My very talented friend, who goes under the moniker Deprivation, has kindly agreed to make a musical piece based around the recorded sounds. You can listen to both the field recording and that piece here, or below.
The title, Flowers and Tombstones, is inspired by a poem of William Blake, which you can hear being recited in the track. By giving this piece such a name we wanted to point out that the existence of a river – represented here in its sonic aspect – can be seen as a powerful metaphor for both natural and cultural continuity. As the river flows uninterruptedly, it nurtures the life of all living organisms and shapes the landscape. At the same time it nourishes the human culture, being a provider of the life-giving water, as well as a constant point of reference, a place on the map, and in history, a vessel of memory, the constant murmur of which endows those who grow and flourish with the remembrance of those who are long gone.