Spheruleus is the long-standing artist name of Whitelabrecs owner Harry Towell, with releases outside of his own label appearing on the likes of Fluid Audio, Home Normal, Hibernate and Lost Tribe Sound. The project has been active since the netlabel days of 2009 and he has also collaborated with artists such as Sven Laux, Pleq and Ekca Liena. This new EP called Absent Frames is a short, conceptual work that delves back to his early work as a sound artist.
Harry had discovered some old field recordings he captured onto an Olympus digital recorder between 2007 and 2009. On listening to the collection, there were very few sounds that he could relate to; most were rain, birdsong or poorly recorded out-takes. In some cases, forgotten memories were recalled and overlapping events became a little clearer. But a clear and complete picture could not be recalled, due to the time that had elapsed and the lack of information to jog his memory.
The medium used to capture a moment in time does not record every tiny detail. A field recording doesn’t capture the visual experiences or tell you the location. For example, the rain droplets you hear could be from anywhere on the planet. A photograph does not always tell the story, the scent, the mood, the location. We use memory to recall the detail if we were present, but some of the detail may be stored in our subconscious or perhaps lost completely. We may easily recall some or most of the experience, but parts may be missing from even the most vivid of memories.
Recently, Harry took a photo of a swan swimming one evening in a local lake called Rutland Water. He can still recall the events earlier that day, the time of night, the section of the lake that his family were stood by, the time that they left the car park. The original photograph gave plenty of detail that would help him recall the memories from when it was taken. To match the theme of Absent Frames, Harry edited the image by replacing the horizon along the water surface, with the cloudy sky of a completely different image, from which memories will be much harder to recall.
Absent Frames is an EP consisting of two mid-length drone pieces, placing multiple field recordings at different volumes, along with drones to which he added multiple effects chains. The intent was to further blur the recordings, to make the content even harder to distinguish. So that in years to become, this theme becomes even more poignant.
Written and produced by Harry Towell
Mastered by James Edward Armstrong
Photography and artwork by Harry Towell