A Moraine is a geological phenomena; the accumulation of unconsolidated debris, soil and rocks compacted under glacial drifts. Over time these assemblages of loose matter form topographic features gradually exposed to the surface world by retreating glaciers.

Govrins’ work evokes this process. Particles of sound are held in a state of suspension, encapsulated by frosty ambiance. Gradual drifts transform his soundscape, tracing subtle patterns of force and revealing contours over time. The naming of the tracks illustrates the variety of forces found in the formation of Moraine, thus mapping distinct processes of geological change; Ground, Push, Lateral, Terminal, Medial, Recessional.

Drawing on a sonic palette of processed cello and violin alongside digital sound synthesis, Govrin has created a work that feels compacted, cold and timeless. Through listening we participate in the process of glacial compression; to be buried deep beneath moving mountains of ice. There are moments that are stark, crystalline and beautiful as in Ground, where cello and violin weave elegiac tones through waves of distortion, and Medial which presents a world of crackling drones punctuated by ghostly and transitory string harmonics.

Comparisons can be drawn with Hildur Gudnadottir’s Without Sinking, which is built around a similarly frosty, bleak and expansive use of cello and signal processing. At times reminiscent of the electro-acoustic music of Iannis Xenakis, Govrin engages in a comparable attempt to map features of the natural world through composed sound. Well produced and based on an engaging premise, this is a novel work that succeeds in subsuming our imaginations in geological phenomena.

Fíacha O’ Dubhda

May 18th, 2010

Originally published on killedincars