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NIETO, MIKEL R - Dark Sound

Format: BOOK & CD
Label & Cat.Number: Gruenrekorder GRUEN 167
Release Year: 2016
Note: impressive / political / unique art-book release by this Basque sound artist about the oil industry, presenting 34 field recordings (as one long track) from the Equadorian rainforest and environment, with sounds of industrial machines slowly destroying it => the completely BLACK book contains 176 pages with essays, documents, pictures, printed with BLACK ink on BLACK pages; the price of the book is not fixed, but depending on the crude oil Brent price (please ask)
Price (incl. 19% VAT): €44.00

More Info

"The book contains Ecopolitik, an introduction as an epilogue by José Luis Espejo, a letter to the Huaorani people, two research texts and one bertso, descriptive texts and photos of recordings, a possible chronology, a glossary, a compilation of several texts with testimonies, reports and declarations from different people, groups, institutions, and publications in reference to the impact—direct or indirect—of the noise from the oil industry during its various phases of development on the people, the environment and the fauna. More info at dark.mikelrnieto.net

34 recordings in one track. In a black polycarbonate CD.
Final editing, mastering and carbon print from Ireland by Slavek Kwi.

01. Nyctridomus albicollis
02. Lipaugus vociferans
03. General Electric CF34-10E
04. Hypsiboas lanciformis, Hypsiboas boans and Unidentified Oil Extraction Machines in the Distance
05. Pogonomyrmex barbatus
06. Paraponera clavata
07. Atta cephalotes
08. Ectatomma tuberculatum
09. Termitidae procornitermes
10. Eciton burchellii
11. Gryllidae and Unidentified Frogs
12. Lophostoma yasuni
13. Leptonycteris yerbabuenae
14. Yamaha Enduro E40X
15. Unidentified Underwater Animals
16. Honda GX160
17. Unidentified Underwater Survivors in Produced Water
18. Changlin YZ26
19. Electric Generator at Tiputini Biodiversity Station
20. Electrical Substation at the Yasuni Research Station (Ten Meters Distance)
21. Electrical Substation at the Yasuni Research Station (One Meter Distance)
22. Air Conditioner for the Electrical Substation at Yasuní Research Station
23. Chevrolet S10
24. CAT MD6420B Drill
25. Cummins KTA19­G4
26. HongSheng CYJ-8­3-37HB
27. CAT 3512 DITA
28. MTU 396
29. Shale Pump SP­1614
30. Tiger Rig ZJ30LDB
31. Oilon Wisedrive WD32-34
32. Maxon Oxytherm LE
33. Preamp Battery Blackout
34. Radio Jungla 94.3 FM Through Several JBL Control 1 Pro in Repsol-YPF Access Control"

176 pages, dark paper, black ink, hardback. languages: huao, basque, spanish and english"


"In the product page on the label’s website the description of this release ends with this warning: “Partially legible. Sunlight reading recommended”. It’s hard to fail recognising that this warning is absolutely appropriate, until you realise that it’s a black book, with black opaque pages, printed with black lucid ink, housing a black CD. And it doesn’t stop there, as it doesn’t have a fixed sale price, but its price is determined by the crude oil Brent price at the time of purchase, so the author and label warn that if you buy the book you’ll “contribute to the destruction of the planet.” With these creepy premises, a curiosity about the content of the work immediately arises. And after a few attempts, the reader can find the right angle and light to (struggle to) start reading realising that it’s a remarkable collection of essays, pictures and documents on the oil industry’s impact on the Ecuadorian natural environment. This is coupled with a CD with 34 recordings in one track from the Ecuadorian rainforest (the whole work is part of the Field Recording Series by Gruenrekorder). It progresses from delightful natural sounds to industrial machines slowly disrupting them. Then reading, meanwhile, some testimonies or a detailed chronology perfectly let this whole suppressed world to (painfully in every sense) re-emerge from its current status. The pervasive “black”, eventually, doesn’t hide anymore, but becomes the mandatory colour to engage with, in order to learn and understand what has been hidden, but must now be revealed." [Neural Mag.]

"I have listened several times to the CD Dark Sound by Mikel R. Nieto over the past month and have been intrigued by the purpose of the recordings presented by the album. — Dark Sound is a CD length single track album of field recordings taken by Mikel R. Nieto mostly in and around the Ecuadorian rainforest within areas associated with the colonisation and domination of contested areas that were found to have oil reserves. The album traces the relationships between a number of different indigenous groups who have resisted becoming associated with Western European and global models of capital, in favour of continuing the heritage and lives they had prior to the arrival of Spanish conquistadors in the late 15th Century.

The single track CD contains a wide number of field recordings from across various situations that the recordist encountered whilst investigating the noise and culture of Ecuadorian oil mining operations and the impact it has had on the biophonic soundscape and ecology of non-native human, native human, and nonhuman populations. The album comes with an accompanying black paged book with black glossy lettering throughout which makes it impossible to read other than in bright sunlight; a statement upon the darkest of dark geological substrates; crude oil, as well as a comment on the practices of obfuscation that have continued in pursuit of capital gain through oil drilling by corporations. This has led to a number of significant historical, political events including the death of Alejandro Lebaka, a Basque man who in the 1980s took it upon himself as a missionary to position himself as “the voice of the voiceless” (Lebaka in Nieto, 2016: 53) but in his attempted defence and support for a number of native groups, specifically the Huaorani (literally meaning those who speak our language”) which is to say, the native people of the Ecuadorian rainforests, was killed by spears from a group of Huaorani referred to as Tagaeri who no longer wished to partake in the violent systems of control forced upon the Huaorani.

The book provides a significant overview to the political history and issues encountered as a result of the colonisation, and pacification of the indigenous people of Ecuador in pursuit for oil whilst also raising a broad ranging investigation into acoustic research and/or phenomena that are a consequence of the oil operations and their effect directly and indirectly on the Ecuadorian ecology.

The album itself, contains a number of ethnographical and environmental field recordings that include weather events, insects, birds, fish and small mammals and security guards, diesel turbines and high security perimeter fencing. The recordings range from acoustic captures to hydrophones to ultrasound and contact microphones in an attempt to reflect the wide range of acoustic, para-acoustic infra and ultrasonic phenomena that are comprised, altered and ruptured in the pursuit of capital.

The book is highly politicised and the recordings only further emphasise the massive transitions from small tribe to mass industrial practice and the absolute refusal for some to be forced to be adapted and co-opted into a military industrial complex and capital based system of goods exchange and parasitic raping of newly discovered lands." [Mark Parker]