We live in a predominantly visual world. Our sense of place is highly determined by what is seen. Even our sense of Time, if one really thinks about it, is primarily arranged in consciousness by spatial elements – how long will it take me to get from here to there. When we go abroad, we go out to see the sights. At a paradigmatic level, modern society has fallen into what A. N. Whitehead calls the fallacy of misplaced concreteness – mistaking the map for the territory, the formula for the phenomenon. (Ask a physicist about gravity and they will most likely show you this: . Rarely, if ever, will they admit that they really don’t know what the hell gravity is, or begin waxing poetic and refer to it as Love or Allurement.) Representations of our world are visual representations: photographs and maps tell us what our world is, tell us our place in that world, even tell us a bit about our cosmology and world view. For instance, do we live in a world surrounded by the numinous or a world that is floating in a vast empty space divided and fractured by politics?
Do we live in this world?
Or this one?
On the other hand… how often have we “taken a trip back home” and experienced a felt sense of security, of belonging, of place, not from the seen but the heard? One hears the stillness of a humid summer: the singing of locusts, the lapping waves of the lake, the soft trickling of the creek, those particular bird songs that you didn’t realize you missed. One hears the hard fragility of winter: the soft crackling of iced tree limbs, the delicate drip of icicles in the afternoon sun, even that unmistakable silence of early morning snowfall. Are these sensations not as integral to our sense of place as the landmarks? But how often do we appreciate and allow ourselves the opportunity to tune-in to the our primal world of sound. A world, perhaps, prior to the symbolic forms of language?
Seaworthy and Matt Rösner allow us this very opportunity. “Two Lakes” is a sound study of two coastal lake ecosystems at the lakes Meroo and Termeil. What is perhaps most striking about this recording is the delicate interplay between the sounds of the environment and the electro-acoustic sounds of the musicians. The relationship begs the question of the liminal space between the two. Where does one end and the other begin? The human urge to music making is ubiquitous and primal. It seems to spring forth effortlessly from some deep well of experience; one that hearkens back to an aspect of our evolutionary roots where “vision” was merely the play of chiaroscuro – the dance of light and shadow – and our expression of being-ness flowed, unhindered by rational thought, back into the world through song, through music.
“Two Lakes” conveys our deep, abiding relationship to the world of sound; our attempts to commune with our landscape – a landscape that is no mere cartography of what is “out there”, but the landscape of relationship – one that has no reservations to define gravity as Love.
Listen to some samples here: