the volume settings folder ~ Ivan Hoe and Other Tales

Ivan HoeIvan Hoe and Other Tales may be one of the most ambitious projects to come our way, but it’s also one of the most successful: a complex multi-media project that entertains on many levels.  Even those unfamiliar with Sir Walter Scott’s source material will be familiar with the names and settings: The Crusades, King Richard, Lady Rowena, Sherwood Forest, Robin Hood.  The text comes to life in occasional readings, manipulated to fit the sonic context: tape loops and drones, accompanied by footsteps and forest sounds.  As the story unfolds, the listener hears fragments in speech and the rest in music, a kind touch that keeps the project grounded in literature while allowing the imagination to roam free.

the contents!The timbre remains mysterious throughout, as a melancholic mist descends early and refuses to lift.  While listening, one loses one’s bearings and hopes to stumble upon a signpost.  Every recognizable turn – a sudden electronic shift, a discernibly slowed loop – acts as a bread crumb dropped by the artist.  Unlike Scott’s novel, the score refuses to provide an ending.  The tracks play with repetition, underlining the ongoing nature of the novel’s themes: love, loss, reversal, redemption.

insert cardBut there’s more to the project than music and source.  The final cut serves as an alternate score to “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari”.  Some optional additions include a series of tarot-like art cards and a rose quartz accompanied by an explanation of its supposed properties.  Finally, those who really want to get into the project can do so literally by purchasing a t-shirt!  Looking at all this (I bought everything but the shirt), I can’t imagine the presenters making any money; there’s just too much offered for too small a price.  The industry needs more projects like this – tactile releases that garner excitement and intrigue.  Hopefully the artist and label will consider a second printing.

the volume settings folder – The Rec Exp [Ivan Hoe and Other Tales] – Organic Industries C001 from Organic Industries on Vimeo.

Despite the beauty of the physical offering, it’s important to note that the music is the best part.  The sense of setting is highlighted by numerous field recordings – brook, bird, breeze.  Scott’s old story takes on new nuance.  One is immersed in a medieval world, devoid of modern accoutrements.  The tones drift like the wisps between woods, helping one to imagine the enchantments of a bygone era in which danger and magic coexisted and wonder was still intact.  (Richard Allen)

Available here

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