There are artists whose sound borders on the ritual. Listening to an album requires letting go of the everyday and becoming fully immersed in evocative sound worlds. There are often elements of drone and repetition to these types of music as well as sonic exploration far removed from the everyday. Children Of The Wave – core duo of Dan Flynn and Mark Rayner – fit squarely into this category of artist. Just their second album in 5 years, The Electric Sounds Of Far Away Choirs is totally immersive and moving.
The duo are joined by a wide array of collaborators, from well known sound artist and instrument creator Rod Cooper to personal friends and musicians Kate Connor, Bec Matthews, Tim Caitlin and Paul Guseli. These artists bring sonic texture by way of sitar, kora (West-African harp), djembe, violin and the like. This on top of the duo’s range of plucked, hit, scraped and blown traditional instruments and percussion and, at least as significantly, range of pre-created field recordings from around the globe. All these elements swirl around each other effortlessly evoking real and imagined foreigness. Production values are high, even when a 4-track cassette recorder is used, giving every sound space in which to play.
I hear krautrock touchstones in the rhythmic propulsion and accompanying drones of tracks such as opener ‘I Defy You’ or ‘Start Stop’, while others such as ‘Standing On The Beach At Ponta Delgada’ allow the field recordings (of said beach) to take over creating a much more ambient setting. I’m also reminded slightly of Domeyko/Gonzalez’s vaguely similar sound explorations using wide ranges of sounds, though Children Of The Wave appear to be less about immediate improvisation and more about delicately building monumental soundscapes.
While their various promo photos have the duo as neo-hippie traditionalists, The Electric Sounds Of Far Away Choirs is anything but. It is intricate and eclectic, created not off the cuff but with great care and attention to detail. The balance between music I respond to emotionally and music I respond to intellectually has been well achieved.