MOUNTAIN BLACK - CLOSING IN
With his debut release Mountain Black (aka Martin Kay) creates a dense filmatic ambient body of work. Though rooted in phonography the album represents an electroacoustic soundtrack, much more closely resembling pieces of noise and drone music than traditional phonographic art. The album is comprised of enviromental field recordings, found sounds and abstracted instrumentation which has been sculpted, crafted and composed using cross-synthesis processing techniques and digital editing programs.
The inspiration for this work came from the artists longstanding love and fascination with the “film soundtrack” - particularly its’ unique ability to sculpt and weave together disparate sonic elements - such as, music, foley, atmos etc, as well as environmental, concrete, abstract and synthesized sounds to form a cohesive sonic composition.
By applying compositional methodologies and approaches within the soundtrack to his own music Mountain Black is experimenting with the concept of how these inherently cinematic decisions and techniques translate to a more musical context - divorced from any visual reference or concrete narrative.
Even though this album is largely constructed from field recordings, the works aren’t so much of a focus on phonography and sonic phenomena, but more a reflection and exploration of a certain stage of life of the artist, namely the period between 2009-2011. The sounds and places used for this album are not of any special nor particular significance, nor do they try to construct a specific narrative or sequence of events – they are simply places Martin Kay encountered, and felt inspired to sonically deconstruct, abstract and reconstruct to highlight the inerrant sonic beauty and complexity and his unique way of interpreting the space.
SAMPLES FROM THE RELEASE
MOUNTAIN BLACK - biography
Martin Kay is a Melbourne based sound recordist, artist and designer predominantly working with environmental field-recordings and found sounds for CD release, multi channel sound installations, as well as film & documentary. Martin’s current interests are centred on capturing the unheard acoustic characteristics and sonic phenomena of an object from unusual and/or often impossible perspectives, to highlight and describe the unique and complex prorogation of sound through different landscapes, environments, objects and materials.
Through employing filmatic modes of composition and production, and by considering the emo- tional and psychological connections formed when listening to environmental sounds detached from its original place, Martin strives to evoke the hyper-real, and at times an elusive sense of place, situation and narrative within his works.
1. Intro 2:10
2. Glass Eaters Pt. I - 4:18
3. Diegetic - 11:48
4. Waiting Room - 1:08
5. Messin - 6:32
6. Bind - 0:34
7. Non-Diegetic - 6:13
8. Silver - 2:24
9. Glass Eaters Pt. II - 12:35
10. Singapore - 2:42
TOTAL PLAYING TIME: 51:20 MIN
MOUNTAIN BLACK IN THE INTERNET:
»Closing in« wirkt daher über weite Strecken wie der Soundtrack zu einem düsteren Alienintruder-Film, der ausschließlich in Tunnelröhren spielt und wo andauernd die Erde bebt, vibriert oder zumindest ein Güterzug vorüberrattert. Das alles ist natürlich nicht atemberaubend neu, aber doch in einem sehr stimmigen, überzeugenden Sounddesign dargeboten.
Vital Weekly #897
Mountain Black did a fine job. It’s made with some mighty fine ear to the ground of sound scape productions.
From a seemingly endless silence slowly emerges a sound… a tectonic rumble and a scrape, followed by a subterranean detonation, and then… nothing. A stillness. The occasional flutter and tweet flickers through the silence, ephemeral events in a wide open sonic space. Crackling sounds and heavy rain unexpectedly flood the senses before fading out once more, leaving the listener alone once more in a desert of sound and equally, an absence of sound.
It’s this absence, this lack, that essentially defines ‘Closing In’, as Mountain Black explores the extensive space between the sounds, and inhabits them. In a world that’s crowded with noise, ‘Closing In’ comes as a surprise. In this context, it’s a daring piece that in barely making a sound, demands the listener’s attention.
A Closer Listen
The crisply-miked brush fire in “Diagetic” burns among some incredibly non-plussed insects and birds. The minute-long “Waiting Room” proceeds from hum to rain before the two are combined in the subsequent track, a clear sign that this is more a single work than a collection of pieces. A long stretch of relative quiet (which includes a television show – shades of The Wall) is broken midway through “Non-Diagetic” with human rustle and electronic drone before returning to its roots. The album’s most effective piece, “Silver”, builds upon this noisier base with bubblings, creaks and sampled orchestral scales. At this point, the sounds do indeed seem to be closing in, and Kay’s strength lies more in such layers than in his subtler explorations.
“Closing In” is an effective & captivating sound journey that shifts from the subtle, to the more cyptic & dense sound-making….but there’s always an unsettling or dread filled vibe to it’s moody cinematic sound art settings. I look forward to hearing what Kay & this project do in the future
The „Closing In” is very dense material that has been classified as filmatic ambient. Martin Kay is not trying to build any particular narrative or sequence of events with field recordings. The creation of „Closing In” was inspired by the sonic deconstruction of places he encountered, in order to create the abstract and dark image of the black mountain.
Ein kleiner Soundtrack für einen Dokumentarfilm ohne Bilder. DÜSTER.
Ambient densa inframezzata da ﬁeld recordings e weirdismi alla Irr.app.(ext). Scorre senza colpo ferire. (6) A. Ciarletta
There is a strong drone component to Kay’s work. Closing In is a dark record, but it is not opaque, and it calls for an immersive listen, even though what it has to offer can feel claustrophobic at times.
FieldRecording.de / 15.11.2013
Mit „Closing In“ hat Martin Kay aka Mountain Black ein wirklich interessantes Album geschaffen, dass Field Recordings mit Synthese perfekt zu einem Soundtrack kombiniert. Die Klänge sind teilweise entspannend, teilweise bizarr. Das Album ist insgesamt abwechslungsreich und gut zusammengestellt. Man muss einfach mal selbst reingehört haben
It’s not so difficult to realize that Melbourne-based sound artist and sound designer Martin Kay in the guise of Mountain Black knows many fictional tools which belongs to movie soundtracks and narrations in general, but the lack of precise space and time handhold and visual references subtend the intent of remove any narrative plot from its sonic art, which stands on an amalgamation of processed found sounds, field recordings and drone by means of cross-synthesis processing techniques and digital editing programs. Such a choice could floor many followers of this branch of sonic experiments since many sound artists who deal with field recordings are trying to render a sort of narrative line or let their arts move within the fences of conceptual frameworks at least, so that this purge by Martin could be the best invitation to sharpen ears as if they got outfitted by powerful receptors which can grab the slightest vibrations of resounding particles. However many listeners could fall into temptation of building a sort of narration due to the sonic clues that Martin Kay’s astonishing sound modelling and the interceptions of his contact mics provide such as the intriguing dichotomy between “Diegetic” and “Non-Diegetic”, a couple of tracks which refers to the role of sounds in films: when a character of the movie or a fiction in general can listen sounds, you can say that sound is diegetic, while on the other hand when the sound (for instance soundtrack itself) cannot be heard by the character, it is termed non diegetic or extra-diegetic. Mountain Black’s translation of this concepts is absolutelly interesting: while “Diegetic” features the “usual” well-recorded insects, birds, burning pyres and other almost imperceptibles sonic elements that the “storyteller” can listen, “Non-Diegetic” seems to have been recorded while the key player falls in a light and disturbed sleep while watching TV. The above-mentioned temptation could be fed by some logical and sonic chains as well, such as it happens for the two parts of “Glass Eaters” (a sonic translation of hyalophagia?), the two detached sonic inputs of “Waiting Room” (a distant vocal noise and a white squall), which flow into the following “Messin”, and the almost silent “Bind”, which seems to be a sort of preface of “Non-Diegetic”, but any chance of narrative cohesion cannot be but delegated to the imagination of listeners. I recommend a closer look (and a closer listen) to Mountain Black’s website in order to understand both aesthetics and “poetics” as well.