A Closer Listen
"Ramshead is exciting right from the start, like a thriller that never lets up. It begins with what sounds like a large tree crashing, then crashes into a dense thicket of flora and fauna, tumbling from one exciting field to the next. While there’s great value in unedited, single-source field recordings, this sort of soundscape may be the best way to entice people into the genre. Sulidae makes no claim of literal reflection, instead preferring to dissemble the pieces and fuse them into a larger piece of sonic art. We hear his footsteps in the park as he fights through foliage or retreats to a stream. In the heavier segments, these recordings border on drone, although one might make a case for rock as well ~ not just the granite formations on the cover, but the visceral energy produced by a rock band. The location offers extreme climate variations, often in a single day, a fact Sulidae reflects. But there’s also great attention to detail, as the sonic microscope locates specific birds, bands of crickets, running water and in “Swampy Plain”, something that sounds like sleet. No single source overstays its welcome; edited from what must have been hours or even days of recordings, the end result is the best of the best, playing out like Kosciuszko National Park’s Greatest Hits. If any single location was this exciting all the time, we’d be on a plane the same day. Instead, it’s a magical creation that first existed in the artist’s head, and is now available to us all."
"The press text reads like a tourist guide: 'This national park covers alpine and sub-alpine areas, and as such provides an unusual environment within the typical low lying bush land and desert of greater Australia. It covers the highest peaks on the continent, and as such is a diverse environment that covers everything from heavily wooded valleys and river ways, through to rugged grasslands high above the treeline. There is a similar variation in animal and bird life, whilst the weather is inclement all year round with everything from blazing sun to snow in one day.' None of this, Sulidae says, plays a role in the four pieces on ‘Ramshead’, but he taped sounds that he liked to work with later on. In saying that I think is implied that these four pieces are not the result of documenting a straight forward scenery, but that these are compositions of sounds recorded at various locations, mixed together later, to form a narrative, a composition using recordings of various bits of environmental sound. One easily recognizes the sound of wind over barren land, the rustling of leaves and branches, and the not-so calm stream up the mountains or animals at night. Of course the narrative isn’t straight forward, but poetic and quiet, strange and/or wild. Maybe at thirty-six minutes it is all rather short in duration I was thinking. I wouldn’t have minded some fifteen or so minutes of this beautiful field trip."