With little description, one is invited to interpret the half-hour, single track piece in personal fashion. As a listener caught between two summers ~ the “real” summer and an upcoming southern vacation ~ I receive the recording as nostalgia and invitation. I am already missing the warmer weather, while I still feel the call to the shore. For the past few weeks, we have been experiencing the effects of offshore hurricanes, leading to pummeling surf and encroaching seas. Tomorrow, for the first time, the waters will have receded, and I anticipate sounds such as these: sea birds calling to each other, enjoying the bounty left by the retreating tide; soft waves over pebbles and sand; if I plunge my head beneath the water, the crunching of crustaceans. eMERgences may represent the emergence of subtle sound following a storm or the emergence of life as the sun ascends; it may also represent the healing qualities of the shoreline.
Medery’s soundscape preserves the idea of an ideal sea walk. There’s little danger to be found here, only a sense of sonic variety and pristine aural beauty. The eighth minute contains a sound like glass or shells, the souvenirs of the wrack line, and then perhaps the nudging of a piece of driftwood. If one takes the time, there is plenty to explore. Medery’s contribution is to highlight the sounds of the shore over the sights. The sound of waves receding from pebbles is melded to the rocking of a hull. The birds sing over the insects. When one thinks of the sound of the sea, one usually thinks only of the crashing of the waves; this recording reminds us that there is so much more.
“I see my past again in waves,” writes Medery. “I look for a link with the present.” The sea changes the land: stealing, replenishing, terraforming. And yet always, even after great incursion, there is balance. The sea and the land continue to interact, neither truly hurting the other. Lava becomes rock. Rock becomes sand. It is in our nature to change as well, but always to cycle back, to return to our center, to appreciate the lessons of the tide. (Richard Allen)