They tore the earth and, like a scar, it swallowed them

by Robert Curgenven

  • Record/Vinyl

    Limited Edition 12” LP on red transparent vinyl, cover printed on 300gsm reverse stock

    "Imagine you have found a new country. To you and your fellow countrymen & women this new country appears empty. Perhaps there are some people living there, but you decide their culture is perhaps "unsophisticated". These people have had a long relationship with this seemingly empty country – for thousands of years – they understand and care for the country and in turn the land cares for them. So, you decide to invade/colonise this country. You need to clear this empty land to make it your own, ready for you to inhabit, maybe even make it more like where you‘re from. The place you left behind. This not only changes the land but also vastly changes the nature of the long relationship of those you’ve displaced. But this story isn't really about "them". Its about you. As you colonise this new country, moving further into the interior, you soon discover that you are very ill-prepared for what turns out to be a harsh and hostile land. This story doesn‘t end well for anyone."

    Amidst the heat and the dust, in a landscape populated only by the insinuation of characters, settler colonialists’ blind enactment of will and violence against and into an unforgiving, arid interior is manifestation of a mortal struggle. The album traverses the historical dynamics of the settler colonial trope through the eyes not of the invaded but of the invaders to a harsh, remote land.

    ‘They tore the earth and, like a scar, it swallowed them’ is a very physical negotiation of territories voided by history, rendered via field recordings gathered over 10 years in over 30 remote locations across Australia alongside new work with pipe organ, guitar feedback, dubplates, turntables and low frequency oscillators.

    R E V I E W S:
    FACT magazine – “sublime”
    the Quietus - “vivid... landscape both familiar & unsettlingly fractured“, Joseph Burnett
    mess+noise – “vast and treacherous”, Doug Wallen
    OMG Vinyl – “between tranquility & terror, masterfully cinematic“
    A Closer Listen - One’s appreciation for the work of Robert Curgenven is deepened when one learns the stories behind the compositions... startling, visceral… scorched earth crackles.” as well as voting the album trailer video one of The 10 Best Music Videos of 2014
    Le Son Du Grisli – “telluric and engulfing”
    Fluid Radio – “so focused and intense that they are occasionally capable of inducing a stomach-twistingly physical lurch, bringing living bodies into the space and moment of the music even as dead ones are buried”
    Just Outside - "There's substantial tension in the air... Impressive construction, showing nice restraint as well as anger."
    Crow with No Mouth - "an unsettling cinematic experience... that will leave you winded and shook"
    Igloo Magazine - "For all the prevailing visceral, startling and bleak tenor, there are passages where crumbling timbres recede into shimmering suspension—a kind of calm, a glimpse perhaps of signposts towards how a seemingly inevitable fate might yet be reversed."
    Hawai (in Spanish) - "noise of the landscape portrayed in the most beautiful way possible"
    Norman Records – “The tensions and violences of Australia's politics and landscapes are brought into full view in this startling experimental work”

    ... more
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A1 - scene 1. scattered to the wind, the fortunate
A2 - scene 2. only the dogs and the fires on the horizon
B1 - scene 3. the heat at their necks
B2 - scene 4. and when the storm came, they were the storm

Derived from the 12 channel sound installation “Unsilenced Landscape” (pure field recordings), originally exhibited at Biorama Projekt, Joachimstal, Germany; and further in 2009 at Centrum Sztuki Współczesnej (Centre for Contemporary Art), Torun, Poland; & Diapason Gallery, New York in “10ms: Ten years of Microsound”

Unprocessed field recordings from over 30 locations across Australia from 1999-2010, including: Coober Pedy, Mound Springs, Blinman, Parachilna, Wilpena & Flinders Ranges (South Australia); Kynuna, Winton (Central Queensland); Roper River, Mataranka, Cape Crawford, Litchfield & Kakadu National Parks, Gunbalanya/Oenpelli, Darwin, Ewaninga, Chambers’ Pillar, Alice Springs, Emily Gap, Jesse Gap, Ormiston Gorge, Barkly Highway, Top Springs, Tanami Desert (Northern Territory); Echo Point (New South Wales); Central Victoria. Guitars & bass recorded in Milan, Amsterdam, Melbourne, London & Cornwall (2007-2013). Piano recorded in Berlin (2004-5) & Cornwall (2013). Bass/ventilators for ‘scene 1‘ recorded live at Gare du Nord, Basel (2010). Turntables & dubplates recorded at The Premises, London (2009-2010), Trewellard & Trewetha, Cornwall (2011-2013). Pipe organs recorded in Cornwall at: St Paul (Ludgvan), St Winnow (Towednack), St Uny (Lelant), St Wyllow (Lanteglos), St Cyrus /Juliette (St Veep) (2011-13)


released November 17, 2014

Mastered & Cut by Rashad Becker at Dubplates & Mastering, Berlin, September 2014.
Pressed at The Vinyl Factory, Middlesex, UK, October 2014
Mixed in Milan (2008), Joachimstal, Torun (2009), London, Sydney, Brisbane, Alice Springs (2010), Cornwall (2011-2013), Kings Heath, Birmingham (2014)
Front cover: Curgenven/Hurding. Photo: Richard Hurding/Biorama Projekt
Back cover: Curgenven



Robert Curgenven Cork, Ireland

Curgenven uses sound as a physical field of perception to encourage us to consider our physical experience of sound through our bodies, the space they inhabit and also the psychological shaping of time and duration by the auditory. For him sound is weather and his work entreats us to feel and hear air. - spanning pipe organ to feedback, immersive resonances, dubplates & detailed field recordings. ... more

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