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WHETHAM, SIMON - Never so Alone

Format: CD
Label & Cat.Number: Cronica 073~2013
Release Year: 2013
Note: during an extended stay in Lisbon, Portugal, the British artist captured sounds from the city with various (contact) microphones and hydrophones, to especially record vibrating and droning sources that build the basis for the 7 compositions here => a very different kind of city portrait, dense and ghostly drones are mixed with "small sounds", resonances, hisses... " Very delicate, very refined indeed. Maybe the best thing I heard from him so far." [FdW /Vital Weekly]
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During an extended stay in Lisbon, courtesy of the Eyjafjallajkull volcano in Iceland erupting and causing european airspace to be closed, Simon Whetham explored the sonorities of city, and the surrounding countryside, using the various microphones he employs in his work. In addition to a Sennheiser shotgun microphone and two Tram lavalier mics, which capture ambient sounds we all hear, he uses contact microphones and hydrophones to expose sound vibrations that travel through objects, an electromagentic coil pickup and a radio receiver.

Simon then composed with these sound materials, in part responding to the geography and architecture of the location, the inhabitants, the weather even, but also the broad spectrum of feelings and emotions felt while investigating the place.

Field recordists tend to work alone when gathering their recordings, entering a state removed from their surroundings, but simultaneously absorbing them and becoming part of them. The loneliness alluded to in the title should therefore not be read as negative, but positive, and essential for the creation of this work.


"In 2010 the volcano Eyjafjallajokull erupted and made air traffic impossible for some time in Europe. Simon Whetham was in Portugal and has to extend his stay. He decided to capture the sounds of the city, using a Sennheiser shotgun microphone, two Tram lavalier mics, contact microphones and hydrophones, and later on composed pieces of music that are now released by, how appropriate, a label from Portugal (though not Lisbon). The title of the CD reflects the lonely state the field recordist does his work with, but it's not to seen in a negative way. This is a long album, close to 80 minutes and that is a bit much, considering the careful nature of the music, I think. Whetham does a fine job capturing sounds from the city and melting them together into seven pieces of music. Whetham knows how to create sustaining sounds from those city sounds and waves in between, down there and on top smaller blocks of sound, crackles, someone walking a tunnel and that sort of thing in single play mode or in loop form and makes some beautiful collage of sounds. Whetham has a particular interest in the world of ambient music, rather than just pure field recordings or heavy computer processing. This makes his music very delicate and spacious even at times. It's long, but it's great. I almost track of time when I was playing this, dreaming away. Maybe of a sunny city as opposed to a grey day in February. Very delicate, very refined indeed. Maybe the best thing I heard from him so far." [FdW /Vital Weekly]