A new series of field recordings on the excellent Eastern European imprint LOM, inaugurated with Indport by Slovaks Daniel Kordik, who normally processes entirely different vibes as a member of the duo Jamka but does have a tragically timely soundwork about Syria under his belt, and filmmaker Tobiáš Potočný, contrasting Portugal and its former string of Indian colonies. Portuguese India was largely established to cash in on the lucrative spice market and served as a jumping off point to an even more lucrative Africa. After Vasco da Gama´s arrival in the last years of the fifteenth century, Portuguese outposts ringing the coastline of India like a broken pearl necklace clustered chiefly in a stretch of the western coast. The last foothold was relinquished in 1961.
The first three tracks are lengthy, long panning shots by Kordik, while the remainder of the album belongs to Potočný, who works in a snapshot style; the former recorded in Cochin, Mumbai, Chennai, Puducherry, Madurai, Varkala, Wayanad and along the roads in between, while the latter made two separate sojourns to Vila do Conde, Guimarães, Coimbra, Lisbon, Lagos, Milfontes and Porto Covo on the European mainland.
Kordik´s is an expansive journey passing through markets, quiet yards, below minarets, above the waves breaking against a wharf. The lively closing of a debate on “suffering India” – specifically addressing violence against women – immediately segueing into disco madness is a crazy, effective juxtaposition. Meanwhile in Portugal, Potočný snatches moments and catches them in eddies and loops – human speech, boxcars clattering, a fire alarm bell that just goes on too long for comfort, busking accordions, birdies and traffic, scenes domestic, commercial and – most interestingly shapeshifted – spiritual-cum-political (“Intervalo meio curto”).
In hitching two separate worlds together, Kordík and Potočný capture essences without actually getting them to really stick to one another, like their portmanteau title. Any real connection between the two is hardly made and one is left wondering about the strength – be it positive or negative – of the legacy linking them today. However, as two distinct but complementary pieces of sound art, Indport works.