On this formidable 3-disc release for Lovely Music, Annea Lockwood revisits techniques utilized in her “Sound Map of the Hudson;” albeit in far greater depth and the inclusion of interviews with Danube bank inhabitants.
Spanning five separate trips to the Danube, and comprising 59 sites and 13 interviews, Lockwood is able to convey not only some of the majesty of this exercise, but provide a fascinating voice to her subject. Most interesting is Lockwood’s willingness to allow her work to be shaped and informed by the Danube itself– rather than stressing the ordinary role of the “artist-as-communicator,” Lockwood acts as more of a translator and sounding board– posing the question, “what is a river?” Lockwood allows the Danube (and those nearby) to answer.
In a society where we all too often impart our own desires for relaxation on every natural recording, “A Sound Map of the Danube” is a refreshing assertion of sounds’ own life and drive, in contrast to the usual belief in field recordings as mere raw material for later manipulation. Even the personal interviews reflect this to a point. Without an audible translator, listeners are free to consider the voices musically, and seem encouraged to by their being interwoven with the natural sounds. Later on, the liner notes can be consulted, revealing a full-size foldout map of the recording sites along the Danube and English-language translations of all interview subjects.
As can be expected, I am highly impressed with this release, and eagerly encourage you to check it out. As a musical document, Lockwood subtly demonstrates the power of listening; and as a sort of impressionistic journalism, she has gathered evidence of not only our influence upon the river, but its workings upon us.