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Review of Sounding Nature – reimagined sounds album by various artists for Cities and Memory

This is a superb album comprising the best submissions to the Cities and Memory Sounding Nature Project.

The 16 songs cover a range of styles from ambient, noise / drone to glitchy and IDM.  There are excellent soundscapes and great use of field recordings both as background sounds and processed for use as rhythmic elements. 

In the Storm (Iceland) – Richard Watts

Atmospheric opening from a tremelo type effect and rhythmic percussive sound, a contrast between ambience and the more uptempo organ riff and synth riff. Excellent layering and a building tension. 

The Fate of Bees (England)

A slow evolving opening evokes the feeling of a colony of Bees, orchestration and sound effects are used very subtly to create movement. Its a haunting track. 

With Whispering Ambitions (USA) – Jeff Dungfelder

Rain, sound effects and delayed vocals create a soundscape given momentum by a more defined percussive rhythm. I really like how the layering creates movement and fluidity, for example, as the rain intensifies it has a bass or drone kind of feel, similarly a delayed percussive element has bassline qualities at times. 

Broken Dawn (Vietnam) – Matt Chapman Jones

Evolving atmospheric opening from strings, a breathing sound and heartbeat from a kick changes to a much edgier feel as the distortion / noise builds to create a tenser sound ending with feedback. 

Infinite Nightingale (England)

A beautiful opening from piano with delayed Nightingale sounds, strings and bass add movement and a subtle tension at times. It’s a captivating song. 

Meadow (Laos) – Qush Abdul (leholyghost)

An edgy / glitchy opening builds to a more defined rhythm with great interplay between spoken descriptions and synth lead lines, sound effects and feedback. 

Fifty-Nine Degrees North (Finland) – Chris Ray (Enisle)

Ambient opening from sound effects and synth sounds, excellent layering creates a soundscape with bass, sound effects, synth leads and subtle momentum from a percussive rhythm. It’s a superbly ambient track that has an edge of tension. 

The Hour Glass (Senegal) – Nick Jones

An edgy song from spoken words and a wind type of sound. Subtle distortion with delayed and layered vocals add a great tension.

A Secretive Call (Scotland) – Alex Hehir

An ambient glitchy opening from delayed and processed bird sounds that takes on a more menacing feel with the evolving bassline and transforms superbly into an IDM kind of feel with momentum with the drumming pattern and synth chords.

Baboons Dance (Senegal) – Ricky Milano

Atmospheric opening from Baboon calls and synth chords, synth bass enters with intricate percussive rhythm from layered processed baboon calls. It’s very cleverly done, slow evolution of the song into an ambient techno / IDM type of sound releasing to baboon calls to end.

Protect the 62% (Slovenia) 

Atmospheric opening from pad, synth chords and bird calls, there’s a subtle movement given momentum from hi-hat and kick drum leading into a full drum pattern with excellent glitchy elements and a kind of decline / collapse to end.

Wales Tanat Valley Epic Thunder (Wales) – Andy Lyon

OK so this is my entry, I’ve tried to create an ambient / neo-classical piece with subtle orchestration around elements of the storm but feel free to make your own conclusions! 

English Lullaby (England) – Kieran Mahon

Noise / drone with strings and background insects fades as an evolving delayed plucked string riff emerges into a lullaby before fading away leaving the noise / drone, insects and strings. 

Dream (Canada) – Karhide

Delayed percussive sounds lead into metallic synth type sounds, it’s an edgy atmosphere, industrial type of sound. 

The Siren Call (England) – Rob Knight 

Opening strings with evolving background sea sound creates an atmospheric piece with just an edge of tension. There’s a great movement in the sound, the arrangement is superb. 

The Cornfield of Forking Paths (USA) – Marco Colocci

A glitchy opening from insects, rustling and rattling type sounds, it has a tape loop kind of feel evolving with a contrasting ambience from strings. 

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