Diving into the depths of acoustic and temporal ecology, transformed by pandemic, a spectacular group of artists have both a must-hear compilation and a completely free bank of sounds you can use free. Listen in on New Chronologies of Sound.

So, very often a Various Artists compilation might introduce you to some new direction. This one, I’m stunned by how many different artists I admire gathered onto the comp in the first place. Laura Romero, Lawrence English, Kyoka, Miguel Isaza, Sonoscopia, Matthew Herbert, Hugo Branco, AGF, Diana Combo, Budhaditya Chattopadhyay, Natalia Valencia Zuluaga, and BJ Nilsen all on a single compilation is wonderful. (Or it means the artists are all about to move to Portugal; I don’t know. They’re currently based in Berlin, Colombia, India, Spain, Finland, the UK, and so on.)

At the start of this month, they shared a special soundbank to go along with the compilation – an idea worth stealing, too. “Negative Mass” was created alongside the New Chronologies of Sound. It’s a free download – and royalty-free – in exchange for signing up with your email.

The sounds of the soundbank alone are worth a close listen – full of richly evocative field recordings and fragments:

Signup for the download link:


And then there’s the full compilation to take in:

There’s Kyoka’s off-balance meditations on bird song, skipping and bouncing through cavernous reverbs in some bird-like rhythm. Lawrence English heads directly to a singular ecology, after-dark frog and water sounds in Shizumi. Miguel Isaza’s “Por Ahora” has nervous, crisp rhythms in an insistent barrage. AGF’s “Friction, the Gate” sounds positively industrial for a Finnish pandemic creation, in violent storms of power and force. Diana Combo’s more reserved “Mosso, Poco Mosso, Quasi Calmo” plays out like a dance score, in deliberate, controlled motion, a kind of ritual procession.

And despite the pandemic theme, this is not all brooding or lonely; there are dances of life at the margins everywhere – a street musician in BJ Nilsen, echoing voices in Budhaditya Chattopadhyay, but throughout the sense of both nature and humanity, maybe in unexpected harmony.

Details: https://lifeisavicnic.com/vn003/

And their description (hey, I’m 100% in for oddness musically even if the times got a little odder than we might have liked):


Every event of planetary dimensions generates a new perceived time axis: a collectively perceived “before-during-after relation”, shared at a global scale. If “before” means what most of the world has obliviously come to consider as normality; and “during” refers to the current situation of confinement, de-confinement or re-confinement (depending on the context); “after” still insists, maybe more than ever, in presenting itself as an absolute enigma, open to infinite new speculations, anxieties and expectations.

How does this new perceived time axis affect our ways of listening? How does it affect the ways in which we create? How can fields such as sound art and acoustic ecology generate reflection about the new anxieties and expectations introduced by such uncertainty? And how are sound artists across the globe responding to emerging limitations and challenges?

Commissioned by the Aveiro Municipality via Teatro Aveirense within the context of the “Culture in Times of (un)Certainty” municipal strategy, “New Chronologies of Sound” proposes to generate debate on such issues by developing a collection of sound works…  more


released July 9, 2021

Commissioned by Teatro Aveirense / Aveiro Municipality
Curatorship by Hugo Branco
Consultancy by Jorge Barco
Mastered by Lawrence English
Cover illustration by Lägrima
Cover design by Nayara Siler
With the support of Direcção Geral das Artes
Partners: MAMM | INET-md | GrETUA | MUSA | AEJE

Yes, the release itself came out in July, but I think it’s even better for this winter, when the pandemic seems more like an overture for a new age than an outlier, when all of us in northern Europe face long, wet days like our head is in a puddle, and when this music sounds not odd or morose, but hopeful.

And I’m glad to add VIC NIC to my Bandcamp follows, that wonderful array of independent labels that routinely threatens my credit card, but in a good way.