Lawrence English / Werner Dafeldecker
Tropic of Capricorn
Hallow Ground
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1Tropic of Capricorn I 20:01
2Tropic of Capricorn II 19:27

»Tropic of Capricorn« is the second album by Lawrence English and Werner Dafeldecker. Based on field recordings made by the prolific Room40 owner that were subtly but decisively altered with electroacoustic techniques through the German improv legend, these two long-form pieces blur the lines between acoustic ecology and aesthetic interventions, concrete local sound worlds and boundary-defying art. They put a focus on our relationship with nature as listeners as much as they call into question where nature ends and human perception begins. They are deeply confusing, disorienting perhaps, in the most beautiful ways.

English recorded the material that form the basis of the duo’s Hallow Ground debut on two different field trips. One led him from the Western coast to the Pilbara region in the North of the country called Australia, the other to the central desert into the lands of the Arrernte people. »These are vast spaces, and in some respects they shun contemporary ideas of civilisation which seek not to listen to the country,« says English. When recording the soundscapes, the artist put a focus on the residues of failed colonial aspirations. »The buildings and objects that remain from the failed cattle pastures and other endeavours create uneasy sound worlds of their own,« he says of the regions that are also places of extraction, especially the heavily mined Pilbara. »There is a distant drone of industry in even the most remote of places; an unsettled sense of heavy breath on the land.« He brought home a document of natural reclamation in time.

The rich source material was then given to Dafeldecker. Spatialising the recordings with transducers applied to different surfaces such as wood, stretched animal skin, glass, or metal surfaces and also re-recording parts of the recordings, he created discrete events that were inserted into, or rather enmeshed with English’s recordings. You’ll hear plenty of birdsong, insect noises and the sound of rain during these 39 minutes; the sounds of a life you can tap into if you tune into your environment. But there are also other things, things that are impossible to categorise even after repeated listens and that call into question whether or not those were really birds, insects, or the sound of rain in the first place. What »Tropic of Capricorn« invites its listeners to listen beyond the preconceived notions of how nature is supposed to be represented in sound and to instead embrace the immediacy of the sensation.