AN INCOMPLETE YET FIXED IDEA
Sounds collected 2011-16 : Arranged 2016.
Mastered by Giuseppe Ielasi. Cut by CGB @ D&M.
Artwork by Romain Cadilhon.
Thank you : Pierre Judon, Matthew Davis, John Grzinich, Emily Jones, Eric La Casa, Francisco Meirino, Andre Piguet, Hamish Sinclair, Helki Sprod, Simon Whetham, Klaus Filip/Reheat and Bogong Centre for Sound Culture.
This restless collage method makes the entire record extremely interesting and mysterious, an exciting trawl through unknown terrains, represented by multiple timbres and tones that don’t really match up. Seagulls and roaring waves slug it out with industrial tanks and metal drums rolling about, and plenty of other bumpety-drone-clunky-battering sounds that are hard to identify, emerging as merely abstract blurs and streaks when processed by the microphones. In doing this, Tarab creates a strongly kaleidoscopic and fragmented view of the modern world, as he attempts to make some sense of it. Or perhaps, rather, the opposite; he attempts to reveal the underlying chaos and absurdity of the surface world.
Ed Pinsent : The Sound Projector
"Careful arrangements of sonic rubbish." That's one hell of a great artist's statement, courtesy of Eamon Sprod (aka Tarab). Over the past decade, this Australian sound-artist has quietly produced some of the finer examples of composition through field recording. His work is a far cry from the pleasantries of a soft ambient whoosh set as the backdrop to various birdsongs plopped willy-nilly for the listener to identify. There's always the threat of psychological, psychic and existential violence lurking throughout Sprod's work. When the insect chorales push through to the foreground, it's symbolic of pestilence, disease, blight and the simple fact that much in the outback can fucking kill you. It's easy to tap into the ultra-violent, post-apocalyptic, doomsayer and/or isolationist scenarios mapped out elsewhere through the Australian psyche (e.g. Mad Max, Chopper, On The Beach, Bad Boy Bubby, etc.), and Sprod carves out his own niche in digging through the hinterlands of urban neglect, locating meaning of psychogeographical import (or the lack there of) within a recontextualized sound object. Since his debut Surfacedrift back in 2004, Sprod's work has steadily exhibited a maturation in conceptualization and aesthetic complexity, leading to his first piece of vinyl as An Incomplete Yet Fixed Idea.
He eschews any notation as to the sources of these sounds on An Incomplete Yet Fixed Idea, but their meaning is clear. This environment is a hostile one. Torn metal and shattered concrete rupture in tandem with stinging buzzes and noxious industrial vibration throughout the album that takes its composition cues from the G*Park, Dave Phillips and Francisco Meirino as well as Luc Ferrari and Michel Chion. Brilliant work as always, from Tarab.
There are field recordists and then there are those who will crawl around in the dirt for that perfect sound. Since his debut album from 2004, Surfacedrift, Tarab’s Eamon Sprod has been fine-tuning his unique brand of highly immersive, geographically targeted sound work. Contrary to your typical passive recordist, Sprod likes to get up close with his environments, his sound design often necessitating a physical engagement—you might even say, relationship—with his locales. However compelling, this engagement can be fleeting, resulting in “half narratives” that when strung together tell the story of a vagabond’s unquenched desire to free the sounds trapped within this earth. It’s no wonder he once titled an album, I’m Lost, because he’d probably stay that way if he could.
Sprod’s sound palette has remained more or less the same over the years, and An Incomplete Yet Fixed Idea keeps on track. We’re graced with hissing fissures, nondescript rattlings and scrapings, the incessant buzz and churn of bygone industrial wares, symphonies of dirt, tactile grime, foraged sounds, abused sounds, and sounds of rain—we’ll leave it there but that’s just scraping the surface (sounds of scraped surfaces!). Compositionally, this is one of Tarab’s tightest, the transitions between his fragmented narratives feeling all the more succinct. An important factor in Tarab’s music is juxtaposition, and Sprod only seems to be getting better at it. The quick, frenetic energy of his more spastic recordings balance out with cavernous drones and booming rain, to the extent that after it’s all done one can almost make out the topography of the artist’s sonic playground. This is but a testament to Sprod’s command of the visceral capacity of environmental recordings.
The aforementioned recordings of rain feature regularly on An Incomplete Yet Fixed Idea, which is a phenomenon that I can’t imagine Sprod experiences too often in his native Australia, but who knows? The frequent return to rain punctuates the album with a gratifying sense of home, as if each time marks a new movement in the work, a new chapter in this story. As a very recognizable recording, the rain breaks up the two 20 minute tracks into something more digestible—it’s easy to lose all sense of time and direction when engrossed in a Tarab album. Ultimately, this is only one element in the complex sound world sculpted by Sprod. His recordings, though often fragmented and quick to expire, are the seed from which his compositions grow. On An Incomplete yet Fixed Idea, he’s proven himself once again.
Adrian Dziewanski : The Alcohol Seed