Text Taken From The Liner Notes by Rob MacFarlane: Drew Mulholland knows how to listen to a place. How to lay ears to a landscape and catch the voices and utterances that surface into the skull. But fidelity is not his aim here ––and nor should it be with such a deceiving, treacherous site as The Ness. The tracks you hear are––in their distortions and manipulations––truer to The Ness’s unsettlements and resonances than any others I know. They hover somewhere between field-recording and haunting. Acoustic elements have been worked over until they are scarcely recognisable, surviving scantly as hyper-mutated catalysts. Mulholland even used the place itself as the distortive force; he gathered lichen species found on The Ness, ground them nearly into dust, glued the resulting powder onto a length of cassette tape, played and recorded the lichened tape, then stretched the recording to ten times its original length – before splicing it and adding reverb and echo. The resulting tracks are fabulously unfaithful to their origins on the untrue island.
They bleep, shiver, rattle, quiver, shudder, detonate. There are footsteps, drips, the clatters of doors and minds being closed, as well as the warping cries of the Mellotron. Interference of several kinds crackles throughout. Throughout, this remarkable soundscape echoes in its unsettling patterns the ‘environmental testing’ of nuclear weapons (stress testing, vibration testing, temperature testing that occurred onThe Ness under the veil of the Official Secrets Act:
“For Ness is a place to improvise. Ness is its own realm with its own rules. Don’t look. Don’t tell. Don’t understand. Don’t ever remember.”
LABEL: Castles in Space
CAT NO: CIS043LP