Review: Kate Carr – I Ended Out Moving to Brixton (Flaming Pines, Mar 9)

London-based artist Kate Carr’s unique soundscapes could almost be compared to paintings. In much of her work, and especially in I Ended Out Moving to Brixton, she aims to describe a physical location or environment using the variety of sounds heard within it. This new release on Flaming Pines is especially vivid, presenting Carr’s perception of the rapidly changing city of Brixton. “Rapid” also describes much of the piece; individual sounds and recordings dissipate almost as soon as they appear, forcing the listener to pay close attention. It’s the same feeling I get when I’m walking through downtown at rush hour, when everyone around me is hurrying somewhere and I almost feel as though I should be hurrying too. Carr captures this almost stressful feeling of movement with disarming panning, frequent splicing, and the layering of noises on top of each other, but she also somehow presents a feeling of comfort within the chaos; initially unfamiliar sounds are repeated throughout the piece, subtly developing an almost rhythmic security amidst the hustle and bustle. I’d say the non-diegetic contributions are the weak points here; I have nothing against musical elements within field recording based pieces like this, but the new age-esque synths and computerized percussion are so out of place against the careful beauty of the environmental sounds. But regardless, Carr succeeds yet again in painting a colorful sonic portrait, and even though I’ve never physically been to Brixton I feel like I know it a little better now.