Dan Powell’s “Four Walks at Old Chapel” reviewed by The Sound Projector

Brighton musician Dan Powell may be known to you as an improviser who performs as one half of The Static Memories and also occasionally with Paul Khimasia Morgan, but he’s here today with a slightly unusual field recording / musique concrète assemblage called Four Walks At Old Chapel (CRONICA 170-2021). He gathered field recordings at this Welsh location, as well as collecting objects from around the countryside to use as instruments in impromptu performances. Back in Brighton, he treated and collaged his tapes into these new arrangements, producing engaging and unexpected results. There are two added dimensions that give this cassette extra resonance; one of them is a personal / family connection, as he’s been taking his family on holiday to Old Chapel for a number of years, and indeed family members assisted with the gathering and playing of objects “brushing, scraping and rubbing them to produce a wide range of intimate sounds”, which they did in a straw hut. They even found, and incorporated, an old piano which had been left outside to moulder away. The second dimension is to do with Old Chapel Farm itself; it’s a collective experiment in social living, offering a new take on those self-sufficiency theories that were so popular among West Coast hippies around 1969, and shows the value of “living close to the land” and developing a sustainable way of life. Dan Powell aimed to create a personal audio statement reflecting and embodying all this, and has succeeded; it’s also gorgeous to listen to, and is much more intimate and teeming with life than many formal / academic experiments in the field of electro-acoustic composition.

via The Sound Projector

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