wallofambient

audio obscura – love in the time of the anthropocene [self-released]

Love in the time of the Anthropocene is a culmination of around three years work. I’ve long wanted to attempt a spoken-word album, one which would blend various forms of writings with music. 
Early in 2017 I started reading books on climate change and came across the idea of the Anthropocene – a term to describe the most recent period in Earth’s history when human activity started to have a significant impact on the planet’s climate and ecosystems.    

In late 2017 we found out we were expecting our 2nd child and I was reflecting on my family unit and wondering about the world my children would inherit.  It was then I decided to attempt a spoken-word album which reflected on these things; the climate, the anthopence and the love for my family. The title came to me around this time and stuck.  I continued to read up on the subject and began to keep notes and started to sketch musical ideas. I thought that if I was to blend various styles of writing then I also wanted to blend various styles of music with this album. 

In the intervening years the album came together slowly, often on the back burner, working around other projects and releases.  By summer 2018 I had the music for 6 or 7 so tracks I was happy with. At this stage I started to develop the spoken words elements. I had the idea that different tracks would feature different forms of writing. I knew I wanted to use words from science, academic writing, fiction, prose and poetry. 
I got permission from Professors Simon L. Lewis and Mark A. Maslin to use text from The Human Planet: How we created the Anthropocene which was published that year.  

I put the album onto the back burner in 2019 partly as other projects at the time took precedence but also because I didn’t want to rush this project and I knew I still wanted more writers to be involved. 

During the Covid-19 pandemic of 2020, which is itself a symptom of the anthropocene, I picked up the project and looked afresh. Suddenly the subject matter seemed urgent and important and I decided it should be finished and released by the end of 2020. With fresh determination I started to approach writers in the hope they might want to contribute. To my surprise many said yes!  I also used the lockdown to connect with other musicians whom I felt could offer something to the album. 
The album finally came together in the late summer of 2020, the last track on the album was actually started and finished in September that year. 

Many thanks to all the writers, musicians and narrators for contributing to this work. 

Special thanks to David Barrington for the amazing design work and to James Edward Armstrong of Rusted Tone Recordings for his magic mastering ears! 

The album is dedicated to my children Arlo and Zadie with peace and hope for your future.  

credits

released October 30, 2020 

1. Goodbye Holocene 
Voices: Neil, Patrick Wray, Robert Jefferson, Richard Jones 

2. Welcome to the Anthropocene. 
Text: from The Human Planet: How we created the anthropocene by Professor Simon L. Lewis and Professor Mark A. Maslin. Narration: Simon Medley. 

3. The Persistence of Biology. 
Text: Adapted from daily news reports on Covid-19. Narration by Simon Medley. Sample: Greta Thunberg at United Nations, 23 September 2019. 

4. Magpies. 
Text and narration: Naomi Ishiguro. 

5. Love is…. 
Cello: Simon McCrory. Soprano Saxophone: Kayla Milmine. 

6. The Orbis Spike. 
Text: from The Human Planet: How we created the anthropocene by Professor Simon L. Lewis and Professor Mark A. Maslin. Narration: Simon Medley. 

7. Water on Earth. 
Text: from The Human Planet: How we created the anthropocene by Professor Simon L. Lewis and Professor Mark A. Maslin . Translated into Russian by Darina Grozdanova. Narration: Dasha. 
Vocal / singing on 2nd half of track: Lijel 

8. Three Sisters. 
Text and Narration: Fransico Cantú. Recorded by Karima Walker 
Guitar: Stephen Bridgland (Tunnelwater) 

9. Radio Anthropocene. 
Radio Samples from BBC Radio 4 between March-July 2020. 

10. The Clattering Train. 
Text: from the poem Death and his Brother Sleep (1890) by Edwin James Milliken. Narration: Polly MacLean. 

11. Future Text. 
Text: Professor Simon L. Lewis and Professor Mark A. Maslin from The Human Planet: How we created the anthropocene. Narration: Simon Medley. 

12. Lullaby for a child in war. 
Text: from the English translation of Nha-Khe’s Vietnamese poem Lullaby for a child in war (1969). Narration: Susila Subramanian. Piano: Hitoshi Yasui 

13. Web. 
Text and Narration: Paul Fisk. 

14. An Exit. 
Text and Narration: Anders Harboe. 

15. Infinity Going Backwards.
Text: from Time Song: Searching for Doggerland by Julia Blackburn. Narration: Julia Blackburn (with some additional whispers by Neil, Susila and Arlo). Piano: Hitoshi Yasui

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