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

by Robert Curgenven

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

    Revealing unseen worlds within remote Australia but also a colonist’s feeling of being physically and psychologically trapped within its’ vast deserts and endless savannahs.

    Suggested reading/viewing

    A very physical negotiation of territories voided by history, rendered via carefully detailed field recordings gathered while living in remote areas of Australia, covering over 10 years and over 30 remote locations, alongside new work with pipe organ, guitar feedback, dubplates, turntables and low frequency oscillators. A 3 channel audiovisual installation from the album was exhibited at Wandesford Quay Gallery, Ireland (2017) & Blindside, Australia (2016).

    "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". It’s 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, the embodiment of a rogue outpost of empire, in a landscape populated only by the insinuation of characters, the settler colonialists’ blind enactment of will and violence against and into an unforgiving, arid interior is the manifestation of a mortal struggle. This album plays out across four scenes, traversing the historical dynamics of the settler colonial trope through the eyes not of the invaded but instead the invaders of a hard and unforgiving land. This story is not about well-fought battles in a harsh land nor the romanticisation of ghost towns and spectral remains. Whether the settlers’ myopic, dogged attempts remain one short life’s span or “hard-won” triumphs last a few generations, the result is much the same: as their misplaced conviction in a “willful, lavish land” turns on them again, ravaging frontiers consume and erase these battles’ ruins, leaving little to tell, bar a scar where the drama played out in the wretched shadow of desolation.

    The four scenes: the survey of a land assumed to be empty; the movement into and inhabitation of this confrontingly large, alien landscape and the colonists vague awareness of the underlying social landscape; a conflagration and the change in relationships with the land for all within this social landscape; devastation - of culture, citizenry, land - the inevitable decline.

    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”

    Includes unlimited streaming of They tore the earth and, like a scar, it swallowed them via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
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  • Full Digital Discography

    Get all 9 Robert Curgenven releases available on Bandcamp and save 65%.

    Includes unlimited streaming via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality downloads of Silent Landscapes, Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney - Sound Atlas, Alice Springs, Central Australia Sound Atlas, Go Outside, Built Through, Oltre / Transparence dubplate: extended trilogy, They tore the earth and, like a scar, it swallowed them, SIRÈNE, and 1 more. , and , .

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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”

A suggested reading & viewing list relating to the geopolitics, colonial and socio-political aspects of the album can be found at

Presented also as a 3channel A/V installation exhibited at Wandesford Quay gallery, Ireland (2017) & Blindside Gallery, Australia (2016). Installation view at

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 May 11, 2018

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


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Robert Curgenven Cork, Ireland

Robert Curgenven is an Ireland-based, Australian artist producing albums, performances & installations. His work emphasizes physicality, our embodied response to sound & its correspondence to location, air, weather & architecture. He's produced works for National Gallery of Australia, Palazzo Grassi Venice & Transmediale and performed at festivals such as Maerzmusik, TodaysArt, Sonic Acts & Gamma ... more

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