I was fortunate enough to spend 1 week of July & 2 weeks of August 2009 in Norway. Ever since my first visit in 2004 I am completely in love with that amazing place up north. Because rules are rules I was a little bummed out of having only two weeks at home to make a record. So, I tried to be clever. Why not buy a field recorder and capture all those Norwegian nature sounds? Excellent idea! Once I was in Norway I noticed it was actually quite difficult to record strange nature noises. First of all, cars make noise. A lot of noise. And the wind carries it far and wide. I don’t like the sound of a passing car. Even when I went further away from the road, cars kept on disturbing my quiet pretty nature sounds. I hate cars.
When we traveled further up north, there were less and less cars... so I finally expected some silence, only to notice that there are a lot of waterfalls, rivers and streams in Norway. And they all make a lot of noise. Argh! It is strange how many background noise you never notice, but once you want to press the record button, you’re surrounded by an ocean of unwanted sound. I quickly saw my field recording record going down the drain because all the recordings would be dominated by the white noise of water and cars.
Then I did what I always do when I get stuck. Reverse things. I tried to become an expert in recording streams, rivers, waterfalls etc... You don’t want to know how many hours of white noise I brought home. As you’ve guessed by now, this is mostly a noise record. It contains four pieces, three of them built around recordings of flowing or falling water, always adding my own music as a sort of upholstery covering the bare field recordings.
Briksdal is the place where we camped for about three days, we were surrounded by waterfalls. The place is about as quiet as a runway, but it is an amazing place because of the view on a glacier + waterfalls + trees + rocks + mountains. The field recording you hear is me walking from our tent to a nearby bridge over a stream. The noise of the little yet fast river was amazing and loud. At the end of the song I walk away from the bridge, to another bridge nearby. You can clearly hear the noise drown out my footsteps through gravel and stones.
Jotunheimen must be my favourite place in Norway, it is such a wild and beautiful place dominated by rocks and lakes. This piece contains a lot of recordings from various streams and waterfalls. My ambient backgroundhum gently supports the variety of white noises that Norwegian streams produce. The piece sounds like a walk through this vast piece of unspoilt nature.
In Jotunheimen you’ll find Glittertind, the second to highest mountain in Norway. We climbed it. It is an amazing experience. After climbing about 1400 meters you suddenly feel like you’re on top of the world with an amazing 360° view around you. This piece doesn’t contain any field recordings, because I was too busy enjoying the view! However, I tried to reimagine the experience and this is what it felt like...
On the Lofoten islands you’ll find a nice little village called Ramberg, that little village has a beautiful white beach, looking out on the west. The result: one of the most beautiful sunsets I ever experienced. Quietly sitting on a rock on the beach, only with the sound of the sea and some birds, oh, how happy I was. I tried to record the sunset, even though i knew it is impossible to do so. Instead I got some sea sounds and birds. I can only hope that somehow, it captured the beautiful atmosphere of the moment.
ps: the 31 physical copies all have a part of the map we used to travel norway as artwork. it also comes with an insert + 4 pictures of the places that are the songs.
released August 31, 2009
Written, recorded, etc by Wim Maesschalck & Norway / August ‘o9. Pictures & Artwork by Jo & Wim.
Wixel is the musical outfit of Wim Maesschalck. Founder of the slaapwel records label, which only releases music dedicated
to fall asleep to. The music of wixel has often been described as melancholic winter music - a warm and organic mix of acoustic instruments and gentle electronic treatments with a lot of care for detail....more