Beyond Enclosures (3 album set)

by Robert Curgenven



Recorded Fields Editions | RFE05 | 3CD + digital
3CD set in hand-folded paper cover

1. Bardo (RFE06) - 1 track - 60mins
2. SPECTRES (RFE07) - 5 tracks - 43mins
3. Bronze Lands (RFE08) - 1 track with 6 index points - 50mins

The 3 albums that comprise this set all, at their heart, concern air and the attendant inter-permeability and fluidity of volumes – be they discretionary or open volumes, architectural or spatiotemporal. Each volume is subject to the specificities of: their resonance; concomitant movements of volumes of air; their locational context and adjacent spaces. The 3 albums present different harmonic, gestural and durational possibilities to encourage us to step out of the perceptual frameworks that enclose us. Each album offers a unique instrumental foundation: experimental turntable techniques inter-woven with piano & pipe organ harmonics (Bardo); resonant architectural interventions in post-Communist architectures and their locational context via custom-made oscillators (SPECTRES); extended pipe organ techniques with an accompanying soundsystem that plumb architectural harmonics and corporeal resonances (Bronze Lands). These works entreat us to think and hear beyond the structures enclosing each instrumental- and performance- approach – the turntable body, the architectural, the pipe organ, the speaker enclosure itself, even the confines of an audience as a gathering – and also to consider these longform works as an inter-related suite of aural and conceptual worlds.


released September 17, 2021

For further information on each album click on individual tracks

Bardo deploys turntables accompanied by discrete intrusions of pipe organ and piano harmonics to create a spatial and temporal suspension permeated by an aetheric tactility, as sounds disorientingly enter and leave, merging and confusing the boundaries of interiority and exteriority. The piece establishes a non-place, an in-between zone which draws on the tension, both physical and perceptual, between two contradictory positions – while cumulatively fostering a state where the listener simultaneously holds both positions equally – where you not only expects things to change but also to remain as they are. Fundamentally, listening is to hear not only sound but also disturbances in the air in a given location: This engenders an embodied and physical experience, where quiet undisturbed air is as audible as a fierce wind. This kind of listening is also about being attendant to the specificities of the air – changes in pressure, temperature and humidity - their effect on the air and sound alongside their importance for a location’s context over a given duration.

Comprised entirely of in-situ recordings using tone generators in 9 post-Communist architectures, SPECTRES presents an interrogation of contemporary society across the threshold of the architecture from a former, but recent, epoch. A statement at that epoch’s inception, “alles Ständische und Stehende verdampft”, is often poetically translated as “all that is solid melts into air”, but literally is “all that is Standing and has Stood [will] vapourise”. These ‘Standing entities’ incorporate institutions (‘Bodies’) and corporations - in physical terms: the architectures and the utopian sociocultural visions these architectures framed. SPECTRES uses the air itself to interrogate a series of post-Communist architectural locations across Poland via a simple intervention/modulation: drawing the surrounding air and current manifestation of contemporary political and geographical economies into the buildings, their volumes: the very monuments of those that Stood and are Standing, the dwellings and inhabitations of the corporatised Bodies. SPECTRES’ 10day recording in 2019 traversed cultural centres, social housing projects through to northern and southern centres of the Polish Solidarity movement) at its 30year anniversary, their architectures present a threshold, framing each location and context.
SPECTRES was commissioned by MŰTŐ & UH Festival (Hungary) with SHAPE platform (EU).

Full live concert recording of Bronze Lands (Tailte Cré-Umha) for Sydney Festival on the 64ft Sydney Town Hall grand pipe organ with in-house soundsystem including twelve 18" subwoofers. Performed before a live audience at the sold-out event, 300 people lying down and 300 more seated upstairs, in the 80m long Centennial Hall before the 20m high & 30m wide organ. Bronze Lands (Tailte Cré-Umha) is a solo performance for live pipe organ and soundsystem. The soundsystem accompaniment comprises recordings from turn-of-the-century unmodernised pipe organs across County Cork and rural Cornwall which effectively allowed precise control of the movement of air through each organ's pipes. The basis for the piece's score and structure draws on Ireland’s relations with Cornwall and Mediterranean Europe. 5000 years ago, coming into the Bronze Age, Ireland’s copper and Cornwall’s tin traversed the continent to make bronze. Bronze Lands derives the shape and movement of the score from the shape and movements of that route. This route traverses mostly marine, coastal and river systems, covering 4000kms over the piece’s 50minute duration. Bronze Lands uses this navigation of the landscape itself as the score as those people and materials travel land, sea, sky and Europe in a climate of change.

All albums mastered by Antti Sakari Saario, Cornwall, UK, 2020-2021
Cover art - Robert Curgenven
Cathedral concert photo - Jed Niezgoda
Polar bear, Taronga Zoo, Sydney - Tessie & Eileen Doyle (ca.1950)


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Robert Curgenven

Curgenven's work emphasizes physicality, our embodied response to sound & its relation to location, air, weather & architecture; including works produced for National Gallery of Australia, Palazzo Grassi Venice, Sydney Festival, Maerzmusik & Transmediale Berlin. The Wire (UK) surmises “behind the music lurk such [disparate] presences as Alvin Lucier, King Tubby, Murray Schafer and Eliane Radigue.” ... more

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