Island Terminus | Adrian Dziewanski
Those who can recall a rock concert’s morning after – having foolishly forgotten their earplugs, or because they stood with their ears nearly pressed upon the speaker – will have experienced the fairly common condition known as Tinnitus. In the simplest of terms, tinnitus can be described as a ringing in the ears. What is less known, however (and even less understood), is that Tinnitus can also be experienced as a song.
I began experiencing Tinnitus as a song a number of years ago. The occurrence is that of listening to a stunted melody, repeating endlessly in the inner ear. It’s a strange sensation, very unlike actually listening to music, but more akin to an extreme version of having a song stuck in one’s head. When first experiencing this, I got out of bed to check the living room stereo, thinking I had left an album playing on loop.
Looking back, I’ve noticed that all the music I’ve produced over the last half decade, in one way or another, has embodied the spirit of the musical hallucination, as if, subconsciously, I’d been channeling the phenomenon through my practice. Consequently, Island Terminus became my first attempt to work with the musical hallucination on a cognizant level, as opposed to having it bleed in from the subconscious. The short, looped nature of the musical hallucination guided my construction of the sounds, while ultimately, the goal was to create a piece of music that could freely roam between the sentient and intuitive listener’s mind.
2 Tracks (44′32″)
Island Terminus was completed over a span of six weeks in early 2012, during the CRES Media Arts Committee Residency in Vancouver, BC.
The audio was culled from recordings made of three separate ferry voyages through the coastal waters of British Columbia, which included a number of stops at port locations I had been interested in recording at for a while: Langdale, Victoria, Nanaimo, and Horseshoe Bay. I spent three days total traveling to these locales. Along the way, I recorded the creaks and bellows emanating from the ferries themselves, proving most enriching to the cyclic, mechanized nature of the final work.
My intensions to create a single, unified, piece were thwarted while in the studio, as the source material began to naturally diverge. Very quickly, I found myself with two distinct movements. The second of the two pieces, I believe, better captures the heart of the musical hallucination, while the first is more contextualized, showcasing a kind of narrative of sea travel along the BC coast.
Despite the separate paths they eventually took, the two pieces remain intrinsically connected. One could not exist without the other, and their distinctive approaches to sound, framed in the context of port inhabitation and sea travel, lend to the necessitation of the work being experienced in succession. In a seasick sort of way, I like to think it all works.
Field Recording Series by Gruenrekorder
Gruenrekorder / Germany / 2013 / GrDl 119 / LC 09488
Album of the month / April @ Musique Machine
Hal Harmon | Musique Machine
“Island Terminus” is a 2 track album by Adrian Dziewanski. Recorded over the the span of 6 weeks, the album is Mr. Dziewanski’s attempt at capturing Tinnitus as songs. Yes, Tinnitus, the equivalent of an aural hangover after a long night of live music. Working with the musical hallucination, as he put it, he wanted to achieve the sensation of having a song stuck in the listeners head to the extreme. Does he succeed? Maybe….maybe not. What he does deliver is over 40 minutes of well-crafted and engaging field recordings taken over a series of ferry rides.
The artwork presented with the release are all beautifully captured photos, no doubt from Mr. Dziewanski’s nautical travels. The cover shot is a close up of thick metal rope, likely acting as railing to one of the ferries he rode. Photos of sunsets, mountain ranges, docks, all serve this release well.
A great work of fiction should be able to transport the reader to a different place and time. Likewise well done field recordings have the similar effect on me. Perhaps the audio medium even more so, since it’s a wholly immersive experience for me. In the 2 tracks that make up “Island Terminus” we are met with crashing waves, gusting winds, and atmospheric soundscapes.
You’re a lone traveler aboard your sailing vessel. The quiet sea air bristles along your ears as a portent to heavier weather ahead. The wind picks up and increasingly raps on the hull of your vessel like an uninvited guest. It’s you versus the elements. Storm clouds build, tidal waves smack and crash, and in the distance a seagull struggles to stay airborne. The elements build, looking to capsize your now fragile vessel. You batten down the hatches determined to ride it out. There’s nothing out there, just the faint glow of a lighthouse calling you back. Before you know it, the storm clouds recede and then it’s back to a quiet respite.
I may not be experiencing Tinnitus right now, but it was an exhilarating ride. I look forward to more of Mr. Dziewanski’s soundscapes down the road. Till then I’ll give “Island Terminus” another spin and get lost at sea.
Guillermo Escudero | Loop
Adrian Dziewanski is a sound artist who lives in Vancouver, Canada and works under his own name besides side-projects and he has released in several imprints. In his production he uses analog tapes, small motors, found objects, and field recordings. This is also combined with poetry reading, highlighting its sound recording. On the other hand, Dziewanski write reviews for the American online Dusted Magazine and runs the Scrapyard Forecast blog in order to spreads minimalism, field recording, electroacoustics, noise, ambient, and/or musique-concrete, ‘Island Terminus’ became his first attempt to work with the musical hallucination on a conscious level, rather than in the subconscious one. The field recordings were made in three separate trips on ferry that Dziewanski did in the coastal waters of British Columbia, ocassion when he visited the ports of Langdale, Victoria, Nanaimo and Horseshoe Bay. Dziewanski recorded the creaks and bellows emanating from the ferries and the ceaseless noise of the engines, in addition to distant voices. This work shows the mechanical activity of this type of transport that Dziewanks transformed into a tapestry of drones.