VIDEO PODCAST: Slava Ukraini! - recorded on 24 February 2022, the day Europe woke up to the news that Vladimir Putin's Russian forces had invaded Ukraine. A fifty minute video which also features Caitríona O'Leary and Eric Fraad discussing their new film Island of Saints, and pays tribute to Joseph Horovitz, Malcolm Troup and Maria Nockin.
This is the latest creative offering from Gintas K (born 1969) who is a very interesting soundscape artist. I enjoy his creations and this latest set contains six tracks, five of which form the set that falls under the umbrella of the tile of this recording, mountains, runlets, caves and cascades. He provides three quotes from H P Lovecraft (1890-1937) who was a master writer of supernatural horror fiction.
The first track lasts about five minutes, and starts from silence and grows with a kind of block, until this ceases and you are left with drips of liquid, as if you are standing in a subterranean cave and hearing water drip down from the roof. Occasionally louder sounds and rumbles appear for short periods of time, as if they are in the distance. This could be water flowing and the sounds being distorted through the tunnels to reach the listener. This fades away back to nothing. It gives the feeling of being an a damp underground cave.
Listen — Gintas K: mountains, runlets, caves and cascades#1
(gk.rec.2022 track 1, 4:00-4:45) ℗ 2022 Gintas Kraptavičius :
The second track, of about the same length, also starts in silence. Every so often there is a gentle background roar, suggestive of an underground stream moving gently, gaining in power, and perhaps moving small stones and crystals as it moves. The sounds gradually intensify as perhaps you are being drawn closer to the source, but this is intermittent so the direction is not fixed. There are gentle tinkling and clicks that make you wonder if there are creatures of the dark or some sort of presence. In the last few moments the sound becomes more intense: perhaps you are at a waterfall underground, or something similar.
The third track starts with a background trickling that grows and then subsides, and one can sense something moving around, gently disturbing brittle rocks or crystals. The trickling intensifies and there is a muffled roar which gradually gets louder. One gets a feeling of dread, without actually getting to the point of feeling threatened, but it is quite ominous, and almost of a mechanical nature. This subsides but is still present. This is the sort of music to listen to in darkness and let your imagination run wild. I have been into caves a few times, or into river canyons with narrow steep rock walls that are dripping and mossy and also where little sunlight reaches, and I feel a similar effect here.
Listen — Gintas K: mountains, runlets, caves and cascades#3
(gk.rec.2022 track 3, 3:20-4:07) ℗ 2022 Gintas Kraptavičius :
The fourth track is by far the longest, being almost fifteen minutes long. One hears all of the elements from the previous movements, present here and expanded. An eerie silence, followed by deep groans, shot with higher sounds, and all growing in strength and energy. Various elements in turn have their prominence and one feels as if one is in an ancient world, but with a futuristic presence. The mood, energy and sounds are constantly shifting, but the feeling of water trickling over brittle rocks is always there. This is punctuated by moments of uneasy quiet. There are moments where one feels an almost ghostly presence in the fact that it does not quite materialise. Sometimes the sounds are as if from a distance, and at other times they seem very close, but the perception can phase from distant to close very quickly. Sometimes the sound appears above, and at other times below you. About two thirds of the way through this track, the energy becomes almost frantic, but it pulses and one has the feeling that all this energy will not be maintained and this does dissipate. There is a long period of almost static quietness at the end of this track.
The final movement, which lasts about nine minutes, begins in a much louder fashion than the previous ones, and almost an echoey bell effect, before the trickling and tinkling emerges, and this grows in power and energy under a background roar. This contains elements of the previous tracks, but consolidates them, and is the most dynamic of all the tracks but there are passages that are calmer and gentler, or ominous. Most of the energy of this movement happens in the first few minutes, and by the end, the track retreats into silence.
Listen — Gintas K: mountains, runlets, caves and cascades#5
(gk.rec.2022 track 5, 0:00-0:51) ℗ 2022 Gintas Kraptavičius :
There are common elements that unite all of these five tracks and I find the recording's descriptive title - mountains, runlets, caves and cascades - very apt.
The last track, Eastern Bells, starts with a peal of bell-like sounds, and this grows and subsides by varying degrees. There are similarities with the bell type sounds of the last movement of the previous work, but they are a more important element through this track, and one has the sense of a sunrise (at least I do!), or perhaps an emergence from a cave into the wider sunlit and brighter world. There is a central note around which all the other sounds emerge, an F sharp, and this note is present right until almost the end, where the work fragments into nothing.
Listen — Gintas K: Eastern Bells
(gk.rec.2022 track 6, 6:33-7:33) ℗ 2022 Gintas Kraptavičius :
One can imagine all sorts of scenarios whilst listening to this album, and possibly all are valid. This is one of the things I find most fascinating. Every time I listen, I feel a different perspective and hear different things, and a lot depends on the mood I am in when I start listening. Personally I find it a very worthwhile experience, but I also know that some listeners will be somewhat mystified.
Copyright © 29 September 2022