Yann Novak: Nightfall

Nightfall, the latest work from Los Angeles-based sound artist and Dragon's Eye Recordings curator Yann Novak, is about as conceptually pure as a recording can be. The nineteen-minute piece, issued as a three-inch CD-R in an edition of only forty copies, was created at the Jentel Artist Residency outside Banner, Wyoming in February 2010, and uses as a starting point a field recording of a snowfall at dusk. The recording begins quietly as it captures the silence of the dry, wintry landscape but then gradually swells as snow accumulates on top of the microphone's windscreen. As the sound grows ever blurrier, it at first suggests snow flurries, but then slowly changes until it becomes a soft, droning rattle that, in turn, eventually fades into silence. As he has done in other works, Novak takes a real-world setting thatódepending on where one lives and to what degree snow is a part of one's experienceómay seem rather unusual or mundane, and uses various treatments to transmute it into abstract sonic form where it loses its rigidly identifiable character. Adding to the release's appeal, each edition is accompanied by a unique watercolour Novak created that's based on the cover photograph of the landscape taken at dusk.

June 2010