The notes for Adrian Dziewanski’s new album The Trail Loops Back make an insightful connection between the Vancouver musician/poet’s work and early ambient compositions.
“Dziewanski utilizes environmental recordings, found sound and prepared instruments as pathways into deep-time sonic meditation. His music harkens to an exquisite stasis that was once the focus of western music’s ambient forefathers and foremothers.”
These two new pieces feature running water, wind, rain, birdsong and much else. But both are a great deal more than a walk through some west coast Canadian forest. Dziewanski doesn’t so much mix his sounds as arrange them, in the process transforming these varied sources into a mesmerizing collage.
Key to all this is his addition of prepared instruments. They serve as a kind of stage on which he can introduce each piece’s other elements. Dziewanski – who also records experimental music under the name Riverkeeper – is above all else a composer.
“A Common Dust” is the more picturesque of the two pieces. Ships and clanging bells in the distance, quietly rushing water, chirping birds are all part of the show. As it progresses, we hear footsteps (presumably Dziewanski’s) padding along that trail mentioned in the album’s title.
“Root Tendrils” is more difficult to sort through. He’s painting a scene, but it’s drenched in fog. Some sounds are generally recognizable, but you’ll struggle to place them specifically. Others are a complete mystery. Again though, Dziewanski delivers an absorbing, pleasing listen.
Dziewanski points to the Japanese aesthetic tradition of wabi-sabi as a core inspiration. That celebration of imperfection and impermanence helps explain this and other recordings he has produced. It also brings to mind Alva Noto and Ryuichi Sakamoto’s fine new recording Glass, which bears some similarities to The Trail Loops Back.