The Amazon is all around you.
Lawrence English has crafted a fascinating album with ‘A Mirror Holds The Sky’. The composer recorded in 2008 a catalogue of field recordings in the Amazon. After sifting through 50 hours worth of Amazon sounds, English has layered and curated all the sounds to provide you with an immersive journey.
The album is split into zones. Starting off in the jungle, you’ll move to the river, a cricket filled island, a gentle lapping shore, a tower to observe the flying wildlife and a rainstorm. The tracks are available as individual sections or played as a continuous 37-minute piece. The way how the sounds are pulled together makes it sound like the Amazon is alive around your ears. From animal cries to hydrosonic rumblings of a Boto Rosa dolphin to wind rustles and water drops – nothing stands still. It is as if a microphone has just been left to capture nature at its finest.
Portraying that natural tone but ensuring nothing stays static or steady for more than a couple of seconds is the key to the albums’ success. Lawrence English has carefully merged and layered all the different field recordings like it’s a Noah’s Ark of the Amazon. You don’t need tribal drums or human interaction – the wind or water provides a global rhythm and timbre. Melodies come from birdsong or insect squarks and chirrups. It is never quiet – everything is loud in a way that feels hyper-realistic. Lawrence has bloomed the sounds out so that the smallest rustle can feel like heaven shaking. The best way to describe it is to enjoy the trailer below but I urge you to listen with headphones on and hear the world sing in stereo around you.
As a field recording or ambient piece, this is one of my favourite discoveries of the last couple of years in the genre. If you decided to purchase the album physically, it comes with a 48-page book of photography taken on location too. It is tricky to describe just how alive the Amazon sounds here – turn the lights off and feel like you are in the moment. This is Mother Natures song – curated.
Recommended track: The Rain
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