A Pattern of Extraction
2021/09, Makade Star
Limited edition cassette, digital download
A Pattern of Extraction is a collection of five compositions formed entirely from field recordings, encompassing both treated sound collages and candid location recordings. This new work emerges from contemplations of the natural environment and its interaction with interpersonal, sociopolitical and ecological events, examined through the lens of time.
Field recordings have long been a component of my work in sound, but the process of making them has become increasingly vital to my practice in recent years. Particularly as lockdowns and isolation became the norm through 2020 and 2021, field recording — with its focus on environmental immersion, listening, and reflection — became a critical aspect of both my creative practice and worldview.
For my work on A Pattern of Extraction, my growing interest in ecology, time, and the place of humans within the natural environment informed my decision to focus on field recording exclusively. During this time, I worked to increase my technical understanding of the practice (particularly with regards to the impact of various microphones and recording devices on one’s listening), as well as my grasp of its place in historical and contemporary culture. The development of field recording, as with so many technologically propelled mediums, is intertwined with the exploitive nature of colonialism. And yet, the medium is one which holds the constructive potential to question and explore the nature of the field itself, which includes our individual and collective positions and effects within it. My listening, and the compositions that make up this album, have been motivated by this potential.
A Pattern of Extraction is intended to evoke a number of interpretations, both in content and in title. My use of the term ‘extraction’ derives broadly from resource extraction and resultant ecological and social transformations, field recording’s own extractive history (and, to varying degrees, its present), and a more metaphorical notion of extraction, relating to changes in inhabited space both forced and afforded by the COVID-19 pandemic. My hope for this work is for it to serve as a point of reflection within the wider field of these themes, and within each listener’s own context.
This album is necessarily a product of its place and the actions which have shaped that place and its inhabitants. All field recordings were made on Treaty 1 territory and the region of Treaty 3 territory presently known as the Whiteshell. These are the ancestral lands of the Anishinaabeg, Cree, Oji-Cree, Dakota, and Dene peoples, and the homeland of the Métis Nation, and my ability to create this work as a settler on these lands is a result of these treaties.
In keeping with this album’s thematic framework, I hope that this work can exist, in part, as both an expression of gratitude for the potential of its creation within these places, and as a condemnation of the ongoing colonial legacy of violence enacted against the land and Indigenous peoples named in these same treaties. Any proceeds I personally receive from the sale of this album will be donated to the Indian Residential School Survivors Society.
In navigating my way deeper into field recording during my preparations for this album, I benefitted from the insights of Andrea Polli, Annea Lockwood, Chris Watson, Jana Winderen, Jez Riley French, Lawrence English, Peter Cusack, and Toshiya Tsunoda, which I gleaned through various interviews and articles (with Cathy Lane and Angus Carlyle’s ‘In the Field’ being especially valuable).
My thought process in assembling and editing this text benefitted from attending a conversation between Dylan Robinson and Cam Scott, presented by Send + Receive in May of 2021.
All sounds were recorded January to April of 2021 via a Tascam DR-100 MKIII, utilizing on-board cardioid and omni arrays, as well as a Røde NTG5, LOM Audio Geofón, and Cold Gold stereo piezo hydrophone.
All tracks were mastered by Jeremy Bible.
My thanks go out to Bret Parenteau for inviting me to release this work on the excellent Makade Star, to Patricia Wolf for her support and enthusiasm during the preparation of this work, and to Jeremy Bible for his reliably excellent work on mastering.