Review: Various Artists – Sound Maps for the Dreamer III (Sono Space, Oct 18)

On Sono Space’s third volume of Sound Maps for the Dreamer, their ambitious ongoing series that collects sound documents and phonography from artists all around the world, there’s once again a host of unfamiliar names contributing beautiful, immersive, and fascinating soundscapes that evoke place, geography, or ecology in their own unique ways. One name, however, isn’t so unfamiliar to me: Abby Lee Tee, the creative alias of Austrian musician Fabian Holzinger (whose work has undergone a remarkable evolution since the noisy, rhythmic electronica of early releases) provides the collection’s cover artwork along with two short sound pieces, “Yläkuru” and “Saarma.” The first few tracks here—and, to varying extents, all of them—explore textures and structural approaches very much in line with Abby Lee Tee releases such as Imaginary Friends I and Herbert’s Archive, with very physical embodiments of sounds both organic and invasive whose organization evokes a strangely natural artifice. Yulia Glukhova provides the first and longest piece in the volume, as well as perhaps the year’s greatest title with “Ci(r)cadian Rhythm,” a languid series of ebb and flow that utilizes the sustained chirping of cicadas to create a hypnotic, dreamlike, cyclical meditation, while Moltamole’s much shorter “Tobacco Caye” is a restless rumble of creaks, bubbles, and rustles. Other highlights include “Bang, Zilch, Whistle, Hummer, Crackle” by Daphne X, a disarmingly sterile object symphony; Tiago Tobias’s sublimely harmonic weaves of voice, clatter, and drone in “Rua Do Bonfirm”; and Shane Davis’s “Swarm of Wasps,” which is a lot more nuanced than you might expect.

Each piece has a corresponding map that can be viewed under the Sound Map section of Sono Space’s website.

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