CD SIRR-ecords , Portugal (2005)
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This work is comprised of two extended compositions with the source material used being specifically collected over a year-long period from the small village of Mooste, Estonia. The sources range from field recordings from the local structures and environment to found instruments and spontaneous sound interventions. The relative quietude of the village and its surroundings offered an inviting situation for extended studies of the acoustic environment throughout the seasonal cycles.
The doorway to a space of very deep listening:
jgrzinich’s ‘insular regions’ is one of the most beautiful drone/field recording combinations I’ve heard in a long time. surely it’s all in the source materials, which are some incredibly sensitive field recordings from Estonia; but more so it’s the way that he’s put the compositions together – every sound has it’s own place. nothing seems to linger for too long, and everything is given it’s breath. the cd contains two tracks, the first a bit more “brittle” sounding like an after rain’s random drops falling on tin, while an engine hums in the distance. it’s a shorter work that i can’t listen to without thinking of the environment of Tarkovsky’s film stalker. The second track is called second portal, and indeed it is the doorway to a space of very deep listening. It begins with a drone whose tones seem to move slightly in and out of each other. It’s a patient composition that allows the drone to spread it’s wings for about 15 minutes or so until other activity begins – creaking, crinkling, dustings…it sounds like we are listening from the inside of a giant ship’s hull, gently swaying in the sea. The seemingly stillness and beauty of both works comes from Grzinich’s patience with the compositions – giving all of the recordings that make up the works a purpose within them. The first few times I listened to the CD I had no interest in knowing the source materials, I simply rolled along blissfully for the ride. eventually I felt the need to open the booklet and find out what I was listening to. here instead of unraveling the mystery, Grzinich gives us more poetry. instead of listing sounds for each track we get “reconstructed notes from the field”, which are diaristic writings about field recording sessions and Grzinich’s listening experiences that lead to the work. certainly there are moments when a listener can hear “interjections of tossed peas” or “the constant hum of a large fan”, but without exacting which track has which sounds, one is left not quite knowing. is the cd a shadow of the text or the text a shadow of the recordings? Either way, from within the great span of this disconnect is a world containing an absolutely beautiful listening experience.
– Steve Roden, MovementNouveau.com
It’s 6:30 in the morning while I’m listening to one of those products designed to modulate your living smoothness, channelling unfinished thoughts and grueling grief into a stream of healing vibrations. Having captured all sounds in Mooste (Estonia) and reworked the sources in the studio, John Grzinich shows to the dead-end amateurs of this genre how a drone based record should be done: the recurring sound waves move like in a slow turnstile, setting the field for a prodigious recycling of self-regenerating hidden fears; the environmental echoes, coming out sparsely throughout the two long tracks, expand the dimension of your mental room, which gets ready to accept new forms of aural intercourse. Although it’s pretty much a gradual revelation process, “Insular regions” rouses the awareness of the receivers, becoming part of that moment of their life without imposition, just seducing the nerves until it’s a necessary presence.
– Massimo Ricci, Touching Extremes
The domineering, eerie particles of sound on “.e 27 : n 58″ were recorded between 2003-04 in Estonia. John Grzinich inebriates the acoustic field with a sensual, subdued drone that is as mysterious as black ice, yet begs to be confronted. The minimalist one-tone lining builds with a fierce babbling brook of crackling tempered hatchings that scratch for the surface. The work is weighty and thick. The cover art shows dried flowers rising up through densely packed snow, looking more like scratchy lines on a blue-white canvas. “..second portal” is the other side of this diptych of the lengthy pieces here (44 mins). Deep, dark, grey ambient tones with a nearly invisible second layer of Pop-Rock sounding campfire snap-crackle-pop. But this is only ear candy for those suiting up for a funeral pyre, as it’s rather spare and gloomy. Through the impenetrable fortress of sinister hues the listener may feel as if they are getting sleepy, but at the same time the bass drone hits the pit of your G.I. system like lead. It’s a long trek through this vast forest, and I am not sure if granny would be awaiting anyone with pie of any kind.
– TJNorris, Igloo Magazine