A strong selection of field recordings pepper the gentle songs of The Story Surrounds Us. Australian Kate Carr now lives in London, and she’s brought a fresh selection of recordings, taken during her travels around the globe, that both soothe and shock.
These recordings are scattered over and throughout the music, sometimes rolling through arid, absent spaces that lack comfort or reassurance, missing the high definition of a point A to B; cartography is absent as the lifespan of the music diminishes. This in turn opens the door – the creaking, body-aching door that opens the record, perhaps – to a subtle displacement which is not so much associated with the outer geography of the place itself but rather with a series of troubled thoughts and processes that constantly blitz the inner self; these inner lands try to find peace and rest, but it’s hard to find solace among the screeching midnight insects.
These recordings are ushered into the midst of guitar, voice and electronics, not only providing the music with additional depth but soaking into the very song and proving to be at one with and inseparable from the smoky ghosts of melody. Tinny drums emanating from a pair of earphones clatter into the world and then subside on “I Didn’t Get A Lot Of Sleep In Mexico”, and at the same time a moody guitar is drenched in mud as it rolls along the ground. “Communication Wires In Tropical Storm, Si’an Kaan, Mexico” is electric music, coming across as an intergalactic space battle with zigzagging laser beams, feeling like something from Star Wars when in real life it’s the rattle and crackle of wires and a deluge of rain mixing in with a frazzling high voltage.
Carr’s music stands out. She’s dedicated to her craft, and this often brings about innovation of the highest order, settling not only for a stunning mix of recordings but, importantly, placing them inside the music in a thoughtful way, allowing the outside source to sit cohesively and comfortably within the context of a song. And as a result, it swooshes to and fro, incredibly smoothly, like a mermaid’s tail passing through currents of deep water. (James Catchpole)
“In a way, it is about restlessness, an uncomfortable tossing and turning in all these many different places, a struggle somehow to forge a connection between my own internal world and all these places and persons I have encountered. I think this holds a sense of unease and strain, with both beautiful and failed moments of intimacy and connection which are made either possible or impossible in the difficult and distorted context of being away. It is quite sad, really.” – Kate Carr