The bewitching journey that is Fabulations by Kate Carr came out all the way back in December of 2014. Released by French label Soft Recordings in a limited run of 70 copies, this full-length CD, like many fine releases which debut so close to the end of the calendar year, didn’t garner much attention at first and flew under a lot of people’s radars. This is a shame, because it’s one of the most interesting meditations on memory and environment I’ve heard in a long time.
The centerpiece of the record is Carr’s field recordings. While many ambient composers use field recordings as a backdrop for their instrumentation, Fabulations inverts expectations by placing them front and center. The guitar and electronics are, if anything, a backdrop for these natural sounds. “I use sound to interrogate the ways we come to understand, cherish, and mark special places whether these be sites of important memories, or everyday places which soothe. I’m interested in the ways we get lost in places physically and emotionally and the ways we find our way again,” she’s been quoted as saying.
These field recordings, which the Australian-born Carr made all over Europe in places like Marseille, Nice, Cefalù, Catania, Dublin, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dungun Barcelona, and her current home of Belfast, vary wildly in terms of the feelings they impart to the listener. Opener “Cold Trains” is terse and lonely. “Tourists Boat in Les Calanques” has a blissed-out, laconic vibe similar to the KLF’s iconic Chill Out. “Bleeding Love (Bus / Sicily)” ends the album with a distantly heard pop song and the loud rumble of the titular bus, jarring the listener out of the album’s insular world and back into reality. Fabulations is a document that will envelop, charm, and enthrall any ambient music fan. Give it a listen.
Fabulations is available now from Soft Recordings.