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Baikal Ice (Spring 2003)

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Album Review

File this one alongside Cusack's Where Is the Green Parrot? and My Favorite London Sounds. Recorded on location during the spring of 2003, at the crucial time when the ice over Lake Baikal fragments into thousands of icicles, Baikal Ice is an audio diary of untampered field recordings. The region is of course breathtakingly beautiful — something Cusack's overwater recordings actually convey. You can hear the vast spaces, the majesty of the frozen lake, and the pittoresque of the location through the wind, bird, and human sounds, but also through the acoustical features of the recordings. We can hear unusual bird songs, children playing with an outdoor PA system, Cusack in his daily routine (mediated by his very dry sense of humor). The recordings are crystal clear and, if they don't have the kind of suggestive poetry found in Chris Watson's pieces, they do create their own stories and convey a sense of here and now. But the main feature of this album is Cusack's underwater recordings of icicles floating in compact groups and "falling" into free water. A symphony of delicate clinks drifting in every direction, these recordings disclose a unique soundworld. This reviewer would not be surprised if a compilation album of remixes/reworkings based on these recordings surfaced soon. But as fascinating Cusack's find may be, Baikal Ice remains a bit too much of an audio postcard to have a lasting impact on the listener. ~ François Couture, Rovi

Customer Reviews


The recordings that Peter Cusack collected for this project are incredible. Realy really incredible. Absolutely one of my favorite things to listen to while driving/walking/sleeping or just listening. Definitely give this a listen.


Genre: Electronic

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Belonging to the generation of British improvisers that came right after that of Derek Bailey, John Stevens, and Evan Parker, Peter Cusack is often overlooked. It has much to do with the fact that he has split his career three ways between improvising guitarist, sound archivist, and organizer, although one could easily argue the three activities are in his case inseparable. He is mostly known as a member of the influential quartet Alterations, the composer of field and wildlife recording-based albums...
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Baikal Ice (Spring 2003), Peter Cusack
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