Below Sea Level (Book + download)

Signed copies of this hardback book - 80 page Journal + Digital Download

Journal edition of Below Sea Level. Includes the listening essay entitled An Exploration of the Subterranean Fenland Environment. Very limited numbers available (sold out at source)!

Includes album download of TOUCHLINE 2 and a 20 minute High Definition movie that includes exclusive 35mm photography from the original artwork, iPhone recordings of field recording location footage and commentary by Scott and with a new version of Below Sea Level soundtrack to accompany the film.

Robert Macfarlane: "It's an amazing sound world, into which you fall (subside)"

Below Sea Level is the first 12k release from seasoned musician and electronic sound artist Simon Scott. The inspiration behind Below Sea Level, including its music, title, artwork and photography originally derives from Scott’s desire to musically explore the desolate and controversial environment of the Fens in East Anglia, UK. The memories Scott has of visiting this area as a child make this a poignant and highly personal project that explores nostalgic familiarity with a desire to capture the musicality of the landscape. For two years Scott ventured into this former wetland with hydrophones and self-built recording devices to explore the land that is cartographically below mean sea level, trace the devastating history of this environment caused by the drainage of the land, and arrange it into conceptual musical and visual project.

Scott has, in the main, eschewed the guitar backbone of his previous releases, preferring instead to capture the timbres and textures of the landscape to form the basis for the seven tracks. His signature reverberated guitar does still surface, the beginning of the album begins with sparse finger picking reminiscent of Laughing Stock-era Talk Talk, but it only adds brief flickers of colour to the central field recordings throughout the album.

Below Sea Level explores the aesthetics of active listening and, via a self-built MaxMSP patch, digitally disects the natural and man-made recordings Scott discovered within the Fens. The juxtaposing of analogue and digital timbres and textures, the man-made and natural world sounds, create epic interwoven soundscapes that blend the recognizable (eg.: birdsong) with undistinguishable sounds, sometimes confusing what is natural and synthetic. Scott presents an abstraction of a place that is arranged and manipulated for aural contemplation outside of the Fens (in alien environments) where the music collaborates with each unique listening environment. For the final stage of Scott’s process he played the mixed songs out of portable speakers and re-recorded them in the wide open spaces and natural ambiences of the Fens to capture the collaborative nature of Below Sea Level. Having these field-recorded sounds; the crows, the passing trains and tractors, recorded in real time with the mixes rather than multi-tracked in the studio provides a strong sense of place and immediacy. The enviornment breathes around the songs in a very natural and uncertain way.

Biog:

Simon Scott (b. 1971) is a British sound ecologist and multi-instrumentalist who is currently based in Cambridgeshire, UK. His work explores the aesthetics of active listening and the subjective distinction of compositional materials and sound timbres used in composition. His interests in music technology, the natural world, illustration, improvisation, photography, Fenland folklore and sound art inspire his work.

Since the late 1990’s Scott’s music has been featured in a variety of international films, sonic art exhibitions, dance productions and digital multi-media projects and he has created original illustrations for album covers for artists such as Richard Chartier (Line), the cassette label The Tapeworm and Ryuichi Sakamoto and Taylor Deupree (12k).

He is a currently member of SPIRE (with Charles Matthews, Fennesz, The Eternal Chord and Philip Jeck, amongst others) and has also collaborated on various projects with Mark Van Hoen (Editions Mego), Taylor Deupree, Rafael Anton Irisarri (Room40/Ghostly International), Nils Frahm and James Blackshaw (Important/Erased Tapes). He has toured worldwide since 1988 and he is the drummer for UK band Slowdive, who composed and recorded with Brian Eno on the 1993 ‘Souvlaki ‘ album, who reformed in 2014 after a Twenty-year hiatus and released their single ‘Star Roving’ in January 2017.

His breakthrough album ‘Below Sea Level’ was released on UK organization Touch in 2015, after 12k originally released the project in 2012 on CD and as an 80-page journal featuring illustration, 35mm photography and an essay entitled ‘An Exploration of the Subterranean Fenland Environment’. The audio is an intimate fusion of digital signal manipulation combined with organic acoustic textures contains creating juxtapositions of analogue field recordings and digital timbres. The man-made and natural world sounds, captured in his local sunken landscape of The Fens in East Anglia added themes of memory, as Scott spent his childhood growing up there, and also loss (due to the devastation of this environment). BBC television program ‘Springwatch’ interviewed Scott, introducing him on air as a “Sonic Artist?, on the live show in 2015.

‘Insomni’, his fourth album and debut for Ash International, was released later the same year and published by Touch Music. In spring 2016 ‘Floodlines’, essentially a live album from a performance in January at Café Oto, was also released on Touch and featuring artwork from Jon Wozencroft (Senior Tutor at Royal College Of Art).

Previously Scott has also released music on record labels Kompakt, Touch, 12k, Morr Music and Ash International recording labels. Scott has also improvised live on stage with Fennesz, Lawrence English, Marcus Fisher, Greg Haines and Philip Jeck. He also runs KESH who release international experimental music and curates live events in Cambridge (John Chantler, BJ Nilsen, Tim Hecker and Ryan Teague).

Scott has a first class honors degree from Anglia Ruskin University in Creative Music Technology, is a part time music lecturer and is currently taking a part time Research Masters in Composition and Ambisonic sound presentation in Cambridge.





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Below Sea Level (Book + download)





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