Kate Carr ~ dawn, always new, often superb, inaugurates the return of the everyday

The splendid title may sing of post-rock, but dawn, always new, often superb, inaugurates the return of the everyday is more accurately described as post-music; a set of soundscapes culled from London’s Bricklayers Arms roundabout and chopped into minuscule pieces.  The album title (and most track titles) is taken from spatial theorist Henri Lefebvre’s Rhythmanalysis, “a collection of essays which address the rhythms and patterns involved in the everyday use of public space.”  What do we hear, and how do we hear it?  How did we hear differently during the pandemic?  How are we hearing differently now?

The loneliness of empty spaces, conveyed by the silences between sounds, is as a reminder that the literal  rhythms of life have changed along with the figurative.  The opening moments are busy, but then the density recedes.  Beginning in the second piece, Graham Dunning’s edits turn Kate Carr‘s field recordings into barely danceable rhythms.  The result is a form of glitch akin to broken technologies:  frayed wires and scratched CDs.  On lathe cut, the listening experience is granted an additional layer of incongruity.

The bulk of the samples stem from peripheral objects such as grates, lampposts, and drains.  But there are other sounds here as well: Dover’s muted wind and occluded sea.  Sonics of connection and passage are often overlooked, save in the subconscious.  The album’s cyclical return to the sea operates as a chorus of memory, representing a more peaceful time; yet due to the pandemic, every hint of traffic is also a form of return.  In normal times, the everyday bubbles beneath the surface of the ears; in abnormal times, it rests below the conscious mind.  Carr’s ambition is to dredge it from the abyss of unrecognition so that it might be examined and even cherished.

As the album recovers its fullness, it mirrors the return to “normalcy;” yet we may not be hearing more, now that “more” has returned.  We may instead be hearing better, noticing things we hadn’t before, more in tune with the everyday that never truly disappeared.  (Richard Allen)

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