In the movie industry, sometimes a sequel appears and we realize we have a series. The same principle holds true in the music industry. Impressões de Outra Ilha (Borneo) is a follow-up to Impressões De Uma Ilha (Unguja), its source material recorded earlier but revisited later. Gonçalo F Cardoso‘s series, now called Island Impressions, shares a common theme and visual presentation, with classic typography by Jeroen Wille. Again, the sound artist spends time on a beautiful island; again, he creates a soundscape that captures not only the sound, but the overall mood of the location. These are, after all, impressions.
Before introducing listeners to the people of Borneo, Cardoso takes a walk in the forest and meets some of the local fauna. The birds are eager to talk, needing no prompting; the cicadas may wonder at the flute of a different frequency. The unfamiliarity of these biophanies makes us eager to popularize the phrase sonic vacation. As the timbres thicken, we realize how much these sounds are unlike our sounds. Sure, we have thunder and rain, but few of us have hornbills and sun bears, the latter a vulnerable species, partially due to its size (topping out at only 28 inches as it climbs hopefully toward the warming rays of the sun).
A lovely song echoes through the Kuching Mall Temple Room, introducing the human element. Unobtrusive chimes sound in the background of “Corpse Flower or The Putrid Rafflesia Song,” signaling a desire to live in sonic balance with one’s environment. Can the island of Outra Ilha really be as harmonic as Cardoso indicates? It’s wonderful to imagine that it is, or at least close enough to come away with such an impression. The idyllic “Sipadan Island Dream” beckons, a shimmering oasis.
“Kanabalu Free” finally unveils the local populace, gathered for what may be a local concert or karaoke. The people are happy and engaged. Then a quick cutaway to whistles and conversation: back to work, everyone! The relative poverty of the populace is offset by the riches of the natural environment, as Cardoso portrays the island as both blessing and blessed. (Richard Allen)