Longform Editions is a label dedicated to the slow-burning and the slow paced. The label was realized in response to so much of today’s bite-sized listening habits, where streaming has encouraged listeners to dip in and out of albums like a pick n’ mix selection. The mission statement of the imprint is to release four tracks by four artists every two months, each release a single, longform piece to be immersed in patiently. Two recent releases are by Australian sound artist and field recordist Kate Carr, and ex-Dolphins Into The Future member Lieven Martens. Both artists approach their contribution in ways that are very much representative of their unique style, and two very different releases have emerged as a result.
Kate Carr presents “City of Bridges”, which is the outcome of her time spent in Saskatoon. During her residence there, she collected sounds from the city and collaged them into this 36-minute soundscape. The piece begins with the sound of water, and this sonic component runs throughout in various forms. Clanging metallic sounds are also a constant, creating mental images of those bridges of the title, faintly industrialized as opposed to pastoral, but never overtly heavy or dark. The urban setting of the field recordings has been somewhat blurred, a spectral after-image that filters the artist’s experience there. A slowly pulsating drone comes and goes, bonding the rustling streetscapes and smaller sounds that enter the frame. At the midway point, the frequency of the drones shifts, and a higher tone comes to the fore, and it’s here that Carr finds a musicality in her found sounds, and this is added to by what are possibly guitar notes. The final stretch of the piece employs panning static to textural effect, the calls of birds circling overhead, before fading away with sounds of trickling water, washing away into silence.
“Deo Gratias Triginta Sex” by Lieven Martens begins with an ecstatic arrangement of choral voices that phase and overlap each other into a spiraling vortex. Based on a classic canon for 36 singers, Lieven has fun processing these voices by using fairly mathematical means. Layers and sequences slide in and out, occasionally freezing while others continue, snaking throughout the piece. The whole thing is pretty hypnotic, albeit rather dense at times with the sheer amount of repeated loops. Interesting conceptually and successful in its execution, he manages to create a shimmering drone that floats in time, suspended in digital space.