Take All the Ships from the Harbour, and Sail them Straight into Hell
23five Incorporated CD
Available through the Helen Scarsdale Agency: $12.00
The title to this album from Tarab (nee Eamon Sprod) is striking enough in its allusions of damnation, with a watery grave a potential outcome from human activity impacting the earth. So, it may be stating the obvious that the corroded locations where mankind has scarred the surface of the earth feature prominently in the work of this Melbourne based sound artist. The residual elements of these sites become the agents for metaphor and allegory in Tarab's work, documented through field recording and sympathetic actions with found objects from those sites. One such location that features prominently in Take All of the Ships... is Angel Island in the San Francisco Bay. Once the home of an immigration station at the turn of the 20th Century and later a Nike Missile site for the US military, Angel Island now rests in the hands of the US National Park Service, which has left some of the buildings to succumb to the forces of decay. From the sounds culled from this site and others closer to his antepodean home, Tarab diligently overlays and stiches together a highly tactile composition with very little digital treatments to speak of.
Take All of the Ships... opens with an ominous rumble whose frequencies appear to emerge from the center of the Earth and liquefying the surface upon impact. As these tones ebb and flow, Tarab unveils as revolving series of exaggerated details from a hyperbolic gash of two heavy pieces of metal grinding against themselves to a toxic chorale of nighttime insects to sand, wind, and surf detourned into sedimentary white noise. Tarab's compositional sensibility shifts throughout the album, at first sparsely situating these sounds into shadowy vignettes. Gradually, Tarab coalesces this sublime opus into an arcing crescendo which exhibits sustained harmonics rarely heard in the best of the contemporary dronemusik technicians much less from the realm of sound ecology.