Configurations with Clouds and Sea Air by Chris H. Lynn

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Chris H. Lynn | Configurations with Clouds and Sea Air 
Verz (CS/DL)

Maryland-based sound artist Chris H. Lynn‘s collection of field recordings were captured on the US east coast. In these three pieces he explores the solitude of open air space and his interaction with it. On Clouds in May what sounds like a sheet of rain (or hiss) continues into a bit of distant thunder rolling, and some detached, abstract percussion. Mother Nature vs. minute man-made musical sounds. The thirty-two minute work finds Lynn scraping gently, and hitting the edge of cymbals as a train moves along a rickety track. There’s a naive, sensitive quality to the way these sounds almost try and mirror each other.

Once there is a break in the storm the minimalist aesthetic is at its most musique concrète stage of restrained experimentation, it’s as though you are left with bare breath, an open mic, just residual sound. The astriction is palpable yet lax and remotely peaceful. If this were a painting it would be some shade of white with the most impossible texture, just vaguely upon the surface, one of those you look into and not simply at. Keep the volume up, or your headphones upon your ears as you go through this.

Shells and Sea Air opens similarly to where we left off, some sparse pleasant bird chirps, and perhaps a receding shoreline. This reminds me of my many youthful trips to Cape Cod actually. You can hear feet upon sand, and waves now rolling in. Sometimes the sound of the sea is similar to a storm churning way above, it’s interesting to see nature mimic itself in acoustically elusive ways. As we move from the chatter of gulls, to cracking sticks, pebbles rolling, and to the tide rising around wooden docks, Lynn seems to capture his own movements along the way. This is all mixed in a way that smoothly writhes non-sequentially between scenes like an audio collage. Though I have been on the ocean when things change rather quickly, so perhaps he is emphasizing the organic sense of nature’s path (or wrath, as it were).

Finally what begins with a sizzling sound that could be campfire may actually end up being rain once again on Ray’s Meadow Park. Again, that acoustic trip of your ability to recognize certain signals amid nature does a good Girl/Boy Scout make. What could easily be bacon in a cast iron skillet was likely rain, but as it dies down in density footsteps lead the way through a mucky, obviously soaked ground. This is a wonderful travelogue document, but without a specific narrator becomes moreso a switch for the psyche, especially for anyone who has ever gone hiking/camping. There’s a lot of near silence, but there’s always distant chatter – like a dog or birds making themselves known somewhere just outside the scene. The din of solitude…

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