artist: Ivy Nostrum
title: Self Own
keywords: experimental ambient drone noise Gateshead
label: Invisible City Records
Ivy Nostrum owns itself. It’s own art, how the artist does things, the sound that Ivy Nostrum makes, creates and puts together. All what you hear and see is pure out of the mind of Ivy Nostrum. It is very nice of this artist that we can hop in and listen to what this person had created. It feels slightly wrong to write about it, who cares what a weirdo like me (or you) has to say about it, thinks of it or how we experience it… But then again, what would be the point of this “blog” anyway… So here it goes, a little track by track walkthrough at your disposal, take it or leave it:
It starts with a track called “Fragile Whiteness” which sounds like the kind of music you would hear on an improvisational noise event in which an old person is tied to an old office chair with a bunch of contact microphones attached to it. Amplifying the croaky sound of the chair that is trying to hold the old fart’s weight and making lots of noises of complaint. Not the person, but the office chair is doing all the complaining, but somehow through magical noisy ways the artist that seems to direct it all manages to make it sound like something natural, as if we are listening to the respective calls of a rather large sounding elephant that is in search for a mate for a sexy time. This is nicely decorated by the cute sounds of tea or coffee cups, balancing the weight of the elephant’s heaviness out to make it look like it’s capable of holding a bit of fragile porcelain in its ‘hands’. It’s probably white porcelain as that will make the sounds and title complete.
A track named “Hollow Joy” seems to have abandoned the person on the chair, but have gone straight into the rougher areas of the modern sound bath explorations. Lots of tinkling sounds, probably of bells, maybe cups or those fancy bowls used by those people that let other people pay good money to place themselves on a cheap mat, lay there with their eyes closed as they walk around as they bang or tinkle some of those a-musical sounds. It’s good fun to do, if it pays well it’s extra beneficial, but to seriously hear it and feel somehow health by it might be a slight bit of abracadabra nonsense. It sounds more fun to make than to hear is what I think and believe, as who doesn’t want to walk around ringing on a deconstructed bicycle bell like a true fanatic while a bunch of crazed out wonderful weirdos are laying there at your disposal with their eyes closed?
Lost Empathy sounds more intense, less ‘hippy on the loose’ as it seems to dive deeper into the psychological audio world in which the soundtracks for horror movies meet up with the ones capable to make the thrilling moments of a thriller much more than it visually ever would be. It’s a seriousness that makes you want to wish for your mommy to hold your hand, or your daddy (whatever you think suits you best) and squeeze it tight in order to feel safe and comfortable enough to get through this dark scenery.
Carceral State seems to go down in the basement, or the garden shed; a place in which underground culture seemed to have stored some kind of avantgarde beast that plays with all the found things that can possibly make a sound, ring a bell, be a gong, a bass or something to form some kind of percussive instrument. It made me think that this beast has plenty of arms to do all at once, a bit like an octopus but than one who aims its tentacles to produce some kind of environmental audio art. It’s good for a nice listen, delivering a lengthy bit of listening material that you could sit back and perhaps even chill out in. Strange as even though it is sounding pretty busy, it is all done in such a tempo and sound that it is actually quite the relaxing relaxant. In the end things become less banging, more like gentle hisses of breaths, shimmering around like a gas that you can inhale without having to worry that your voice will transform, or you will be laughing like a mad hyena.
Last but not least, the “Self Own” release ends with a lengthy case named ‘Bad Actor’. If this track would be a real actor, it would probably be one of the serious ones, one that does not opt for comedic roles but the kind that is good at playing some kind of monk that has suitable believable faces ready to be filmed in a closeup that everyone would be fascinated about. There is something to it that feels severely humbling, a drone-ish human sensation that is warm, ghostly and terrifically real at the same time. I wouldn’t call this a bad actor at all, but a great actor… But, oh well who am I to judge anything, to say what a title would be good and what wouldn’t; in fact lets say: long live the freedom of artists that could do anything that they wanted too! Hip Hip Hooray! Ivy Nostrum owns these tracks, made them themselves and can do whatever the hell Ivy Nostrum wants with them! Glad that Ivy Nostrum choses to release them into the world!