landscape in metamorphoses | Budhaditya Chattopadhyay
Field Recordings of India
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Recorded at ‘tumbani’ between February and April 2007.
Equipment used: ‘acoustic engine’ MD recorder from Sony, OKM II binaural microphone from Soundman, and occasionally a KMR shotgun from Neumann.
Recommended listening: by headphone
Tumbani is a landscape in change; from a greener pasture transforming into one of the busiest industrial belts of Bengal-Bihar border in India. This work is based on an extensive phonographic journey made in this area during the spring of 2007.
The area under attention is mostly inhabited by discreet tribal population who survived with cultivation of land, hunting and a deep-rooted community tradition for many years. In the last few years the area has been discovered of its stone resources, making way into foundation of small-scale industries for cement and concrete. People and land are used in the industrialization process initiating collective change in the landscape, which is quite a common phenomenon in this developing country. A fertile land of rapid change, tumbani is one of the sites which succumbed to the euphoria over industrial development, improving lifestyle and growth, creating lapses in cultural memory.
Sound captures this transformation while the acoustic space slowly changes from a rich environmental variety into a monolithic industrial soundscape. As an audio essay the work studies the trajectory of metamorphoses in unprocessed field recording.
From a motivation of return and revisit, being spent my childhood here, I realized while going through the recording experience, the topography of my childhood already disappeared into nostalgia. Not merely a sonic representation of a transfigured landscape, this work is also a lamentation over my own personal loss of memory-associations.
landscape in metamorphoses
1 Track (26’02“)
CD-R (50 copies)
Dedicated to my father
Field Recording Series by Gruenrekorder
Gruenrekorder / Germany / 2008 / Gr 057 / LC 09488
Stephen Fruitman | sonomu.net
No other nation is as synonymous with ”metamorphosis” as India. While its civilization is ancient, its vast population is wildly heterogeneous, its landscape richly variegated, its gods innumerable and mercurial. Millions make pilgrimmages seeking one sort of enlightenment or another. Its musics are arguably more well-known and influential than those of any non-Western nation. And in the discourse on the transformation of the global economy, India´s name is a constant.
”Audio practitioner” Budhaditya Chattopadhyay has chosen to illustrate the transformations of India in its most prosaic but palpable form, as he records the sound of Tumbani, the region in which he grew up and which is undergoing such a drastic modernization, he fears for the survival of the collective memory.
Chattopadhyay deftly edits and manipulates the long road travelled into one, linked environment as it transforms from agricultural and pastoral to urban, overpopulated and industrialized. The journey begins with the farmyard idyll of little children and twittering baby chicks and ends surrounded by concrete. Along the way we pass through markets, construction sites, deforestation crews. Near the end, this audio essay turns whimsically lyrical, as a tribal drum and dance ceremony is caught up in an eddy of voice loops, proving Chattopadhyay has as much an ear for music as he does for documentary detail.
(A gallery unreleated to Chattopadhyay featuring eloquent photographs of Tumbani can be visited at http://juliasmirnova.com/tumbani/1.html)
Tobias Fischer | tokafi
Budhaditya Chattopadhyay: Documents a Landscape in Metamorphoses
„Audio Practitioner“ Budhaditya Chattopadhyay is drawing attention to the rapid social and geocultural transformation of his native India on his latest album. „Landscape in Metamorphoses“, a 26-minute collection of field recordings on German label Gruenrekorder, documents the stormy environmental changes taking place in Tumbani, „one of the busiest industrial belts at the Bengal-Bihar border“. Recorded between February and April of last year with little more than a simple MD recorder and a binaural microphone, „Landscape in Metamorphoses“ aims at delivering both a vivid sonic snapshot and a strong political statement: „The area under attention is mostly inhabited by discreet tribal population who survived with cultivation of land, hunting and a deep-rooted community tradition for many years“, Budhaditya Chattopadhyay explained, „In the last few years the area has been discovered of its stone resources, making way into foundation of small-scale industries for cement and concrete. People and land are used in the industrialization process initiating collective change in the landscape, which is quite a common phenomenon in this developing country. A fertile land of rapid change, tumbani is one of the sites which succumbed to the euphoria over industrial development, improving lifestyle and growth, creating lapses in cultural memory.“
To Budhaditya Chattopadhyay, sound is ideally suited for making these processes transparent. The richly detailed sonic exuberance has made way for a static and oppressive industrial noisescape. By presenting his recordings in their pure original state, Chattopadhyay emphasizes their political aspect, while leaving questions of exact interpretation to the listener.
Despite its analytical nature, „Landscape in Metamorphoses“ also deals with feelings of helplessness at loosing one’s most cherished memories – and is therefore ultimately a deeply personal work: „From a motivation of return and revisit, being spent my childhood here, I realized while going through the recording experience, the topography of my childhood already disappeared into nostalgia. Not merely a sonic representation of a transfigured landscape, this work is also a lamentation over my own personal loss of memory-associations.“
Frans de Waard | VITAL WEEKLY
Its never easy to judge field recordings, but things might be more difficult if the place that is subject is unknown to the reviewer. Such is the case with a place called Tumbai, ‚a landscape in change; from a greener pasture transforming into one of the busiest industrial belts of Bengal-Bihar border in India‘, so says Budhaditya Chattopadhyay on the cover of his piece ‚Landscape In Metamorphoses‘. Had we not known this, could we have told after hearing this? Always a though question, since simply we know now and yes, we can tell now. It starts with what we could agrarian surround sounds, with animal sounds, people talking but over the course of the piece some mechanical, motor like sounds come in. That may be the ‚industrial belts‘ at work, but could be the engine of a motorboat. Its never easy, is it? I must say however that I quite enjoyed this release, simply for the story like way of putting the piece together and the excellent quality of the recordings, simply pass the political implications that this release also has. Excellent stuff. (FdW)
Tobias Bolt | quietnoise
Auf »Landscape in Metamorphoses« lässt uns Budhaditya Chattopadhyay unbearbeitete Feldaufnahmen aus Tumbani, einer Ortschaft in Bengal, Indien, hören. Mit relativ einfachen Mitteln, einem MD-Recorder und binauralen Mikrophonen, aufgenommen, stellt er Klänge aus dem ursprünglichen, traditionellen Leben den monotonen, übermächtigen Sounds der in dieser Gegend rapide vor sich gehenden Industrialisierungsprozesse gegenüber. Dynamische Klangbilder von Menschen, spielenden Kindern, Haustieren und alltäglichen Arbeiten werden dabei langsam aber unaufhaltsam von Maschinenlärm, Verkehr, Technik zugedeckt und verflacht. So bietet das Album nicht nur ein sehr eindrückliches Hörerlebnis, sondern ist selbstverständlich auch als politisches Statement zu verstehen. Dass der Künstler seine Kindheit in Tumbani verbracht hat und sich mit diesem Projekt auch auf die Suche nach einer längst in Richtung Nostalgie entschwundenen Klangtopographie begeben hat, eröffnet noch eine dritte, sehr persönliche und poetische Wirkungsebene. Ein wirklich gelungenes Album also und darüber hinaus beeindruckendes Beispiel für die kraftvollen Möglichkeiten von Field Recordings.
Ron Schepper | textura
Say the word “Gruenrekorder” and field recordings come to mind. In that regard, Budhaditya Chattopadhyay’s Landscape in Metamorphoses—in essence, field recordings of India—is perfectly in keeping with the label’s reputation. Paradis Paysan, on the other hand, a recording by Tobias Fischer under the Feu Follet guise, surprises by being less a pure field outing and instead more of an ambient work.
The Landscape in Metamorphoses title is pointedly chosen, as Chattopadhyay’s twenty-six-minute “phonographic” documentary was recorded in early 2007at Tumbani, a landscape undergoing transformation from a green pasture into an industrial belt along the Bengal-Bihar border. The area undergoing change was inhabited by a tribal population whose long-standing natural lifestyle (land cultivation, hunting) found itself subjected to rapid industrial change when the locale’s stone resources were discovered and then used to establish cement and concrete industries. Consequently, the rich tapestry of village life heard at the beginning—voices of adults and children, the caw of roosters and snort of pigs—is slowly supplanted by an impersonal industrial ambiance—sounds of building and hammering and rapidly churning machinery—that reduces the bustle of the original community life to a mere memory. During the closing minutes, the community’s multitude of voices and chanting returns, indicative perhaps of a community spirit that can’t be obliterated by industrial “progress.” In this case, Chattopadhyay’s work distinguishes itself from an hypothetically “pure” field recording by its strongly delineated narrative trajectory. […]
Tina Manske | Titel – Kulturmagazin
Das Label Gruenrekorder widmet sich ungewöhnlichen Feldaufnahmen und der Aufzeichnung von Sounds aller Art. […]
Auch Budhaditya Chattopadhyay dokumentiert in seinem Beitrag „Landscape In Metamorphoses“ Veränderung, nämlich die Veränderung, die sein Heimatland Indien und darin die Provinz Tumbani an der Grenze zu Bengalen gerade durchmacht. Von der traditionellen Landwirtschaft entwickelt man sich hier rasant zu einem schnell wachsenden Industriegürtel. Zu Beginn hören wir einen typischen Bauernhof: Hähne krähen, Kinder lachen, Schweine grunzen. Nach und nach mischen sich Motorengeräusche unter die Gespräche der Menschen (die man gerne verstehen würde, worum mag es wohl gehen?), Metall durchschneidet das Vogelgezwitscher. Chattopadhyay arbeitet mit Echos und sampelt auch gerne, billige Gut/Schlecht-Antagonismen findet man bei ihm allerdings nicht, auch die Arbeiter, die das Dorf umgraben und zubauen sollen, haben ihren Spaß dabei. Allerdings wird einem schnell klar, dass es Geräusche gibt, die wir bald nur noch in Archiven hören werden – wie zum Beispiel das Knarzen eines Seils, an dem ein Wassereimer hochgezogen wird.
[…] Beide CDs sollte man unbedingt über Kopfhörer hören – ein faszinierendes Erlebnis.