A Sonic Map Of Dornoch – Reviews

by | Apr 2, 2018 | Artist Blog | 0 comments

Reviews of “A Sonic Map Of Dornoch”:: I thought I would collect and collate some of the reviews that have been coming in for “A Sound Map Of Dornoch” – press clipping if you would. The album has been heard the world over and it is touching to see the reviews and to hear of it being played on Arts radio stations around Europe. These stations include Radio Flora (Hannover), RUM (Portugal)Eldoradio (Dortmund), Soundart Radio (UK), K-BOG (Oregon, USA), KPIP-LP (Missouri, USA) & the amazing, but now de-funct, Radio Presque Rien.

Here is a review from The Wire –

a sonic map of Dornoch reviews
a sonic map of Dornoch reviews

Andrew Backhouse who is a founder of Focused silence label as well as a solo artist and a member of Guerilla Dub system and a radio show presenter of The Parish news presents a montage or collage of field recorded sounds in Dornoch. A small seaside town in Scottish Highlands have been his intimate, personal constants – his childhood life spent with his father travelling.

Andrew used the source sounds to create a sonic map – layering the cake of this intricate kaleidoscope that sets the picture of his own understanding of rural idyll. While the residents may see it in a different way – he, himself travels inwards to see the truth of himself actively listening and hearing the pulse of awareness and understanding in his own,, private way.

Sound art created through empirical process rather than “professionalism” and as Andrew recalls himself – Carl Gustav Jung’s concept of Personal Completion play here a very important role.
A great soundtrack to discover through your own resonance with the spectrum of field recorded soundscape – delicate, intimate, full of natural wonders and happens to be a very relaxing voyage if you let yourself to be attentive.

Felthat Reviews

Precious conceptual work and listening for Andrew Backhouse who he also defines himself as a non-professional artist on his facebook page. This disabled character sees art in a way to communicate and empathize with those who want to follow through its radio programs in the transmission The Parish News but above all through this wonderful work of field recordings realized in Dornoch,
in northeastern Scotland. Birds, noises, water, car engines are suggestions that bring to the same perceptive level completely different people, a sort of effective and well-fitted acoustic abduction that puts order to a much more chaotic reality.

• Rockerilla, April ’18 – Translated from the Italian.

Preziosa opera concettuale e di ascolto per Andrew Backhouse che si autodefinisce, anche sulla sua pagina facebook, un artista non professionista. Questo personaggio disabile vede nell’arte un modo per comunicare ed entrare in empatia con chi lo vorrà seguire attraverso i suoi percorsi radiofonici nella trasmissione The Parish News ma soprattutto attraverso questo meraviglioso lavoro di field recordings realizzato a Dornoch, nel nord est della Scozia. Uccellini, rumori, d’acqua, motori d’auto sono suggestioni che mettono allo stesso livello percettivo persone del tutto diverse, una sorta di rapimento acustico efficace e ben montato che mette ordine ad una realtà molto più caotica.

• Rockerilla, April ’18.

a sonic map of Dornoch reviews
a sonic map of Dornoch reviews

Andrew Backhouse offers up a very personal half-hour soundscape sampling natural sounds from the Scottish seaside town of Dornoch, where his grandmother lives. Indeed, you can hear his granny and a variety of other passing conversations alongside the crashing waves, the birdsong, car sounds, and other slightly less obvious sounds seemingly of cafés or very light industry.

The result is essentially a sonic seaside postcard, and to be honest a rather prosaic one, not really imbued with a distinctive character that would allow the listener to place Dornoch in particular unless you’re an absolute master at recognising accents. Only the anachronistic and thankfully short-lived sampled bagpipe sound that appears out of nowhere 15 minutes in (a recording of some piece of tourist tat, maybe?) places this even in Scotland.

But, thanks to the inclusion of calm lapping waves that come and go, it is very naturally a relaxing and calming thing to listen to- a fleeting bit of audio tourism that allows you to imagine that you are meandering carefree along the beachside, without having to worry about the bitter cold you might really get in the Northerly Scottish town.

Andrew Backhouse has generated this work as a cathartic experience, which he describes as being related to his perception disorder, which I’m sure is true although the end result could simply be seen as indulgent nostalgia. That being said, as a sound postcard it is picturesque and endearing.

Chain D.L.K.

I see this blog post as a work in progress – I will update it when and where I get a new press cutting. The album has been out for a while now (nearly two months) so the reviews will be dying off. But, I am very grateful for the press. Thank you all of those who have listened to the album so far.

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