Nightfall was created at the Jentel Artist Residency outside Banner, WY in February 2010. Based upon a simple field recording of the start of a snowfall at dusk, the composition explores the shifting point between day and night in the dry and overcast winter month. The original recording begins with the dry, empty silence of the landscape, slowly enveloped by the piling of snow upon the microphone’s windscreen.
Each copy of Nightfall is accompanied by a unique watercolor based on the cover photograph of the landscape taken at dusk through the studio window.
Every day at work I sift through the Google Alerts for Soundwalk’s Gmail account, and occasionally come across something I love. I always like getting alerts from Fluid Radio because the work they feature is usually stunningly beautiful and thought-provoking. Today I found this audio sample from Yann Novak‘s composition Nightfall, which “was created at the Jentel Artist Residency outside Banner, WY in February 2010. Based upon a simple field recording of the start of a snowfall at dusk… the composition explores the shifting point between day and night in the dry and overcast winter month.” (In connection with a piece I once wrote on different ways of telling time, this composition strikes me as being one that defines timelessness, in the sense that timelessness is equally stillness and relentless movement.) “The original recording begins with the dry, empty silence of the landscape, slowly enveloped by the piling of snow upon the microphone’s windscreen.
Each copy of Nightfall is accompanied by a unique watercolor based on the cover photograph of the landscape taken at dusk through the studio window.”
I haven’t purchased the full recording yet, as it’s $40, but the clip available on Fluid Radio is a good taste of it. In discussing sound editing with the guys I work with, I’ve been told that part of the process is manipulating the recordings, usually just hours and hours of static and hertzian frequencies, into something accessible with a narrative. Though I know there is more to Nightfall than just the few minutes on Fluid Radio, even the dark grey wash of sound one hears in the clip seems narrative to me. Perhaps something about its constancy and propulsion, about the feeling of being enveloped, is the key to this. Its lush monotone excludes both everything and nothing – it surrounds like a blanket and like a dark forest, both comfortingly and eerily. The feeling it gives is perhaps that of a freezing person falling asleep in the snow: of simultaneous risk and consolation, and most of all, of timelessness.
– The Yelling Reaction
A very special release from Yann Novak and another limited edition to treasure. This 3” CD in an edition of 40 copies comes signed and numbered and features a companion watercolour, each of which is unique. Quite apart from the fact that it’s a desirable piece of work from the artistic point of view, it’ll come as no surprise at all to find that this 20 minute track is also of the highest calibre – and in fact I would go out on a limb and say it’s one of my favourite works from Yann to date. Taking a simple field recording of the beginning of a snowfall at dusk in February 2010, the piece begins with the sound of silence; not the kind of absolute silence where there’s nothing, but more of an empty tone that hints at darkness and cold. As the snow begins to fall and pile up around the microphone the sound changes to one of wintry depth and stark beauty. It’s incredibly evocative of the subject matter and while listening to it you really do get a sense of chill and isolation, the way that snow has a tendency to make you feel. The quiet of an arctic landscape, the silence of a city first thing in the morning after a big flurry of snow… all of these things come to mind whilst listening to it. Simply this is a rare treat for fans of Yann’s work and, to be honest, anyone with even a hint of interest in the minimal sound design genre. Beautiful looking and sounding and a huge recommendation.