Some days the smoke clears and I go outside. Words are shadows on the water, an image of an image, [il/e]lusive. I ride my bike down a trail that runs between the river and the creek. It feels a little like the wetlands back home, between two other rivers, but when I look up there's mountains. In the water: a big blue chemical drum, rusted shopping cart, turtles, sometimes. Last time there were more dragonflies than I could count. This time, wildflowers, falling leaves.
The traditional Gorge festival known as yamanohi.club is held every year around August 11th, coinciding with the Japanese holiday of 山の日 (Mountain Day). Bootists gather in Japan and around the world, called up into the mountains by the irresistible vibration of distant toms. The ground shakes with the sound. The landscape shifts, revealing the tectonic potential of underground forces.
I hear a new mountain
I hear a new mountain is a 40 track monument to Gorge, proof that the Gorge ecosystem is thriving at the highest altitudes ever recorded. At the heart of the compilation and running through each of its tracks is a set of field recordings, collected on Mount Hodosan by musician and sound designer Twoth. Contributors from all over the world brought their own vision to these samples, chiseling away at them until the forms of new mountains were revealed.
The common source material provides a sense of sonic continuity through the record's marathon three hour runtime, but the changes can still be dizzying. Every climber has their own route, their own way of relating to the shared landscape of Gorge. In the tensions between these varied approaches to the summit, something beautiful is revealed, not a single mountain but a ridgeline stretching across the horizon. A thousand peaks, past and future, all connected.
Argentinean collective pantanosumpf organized this compilation of dinosaur Gorge, featuring contributors from Argentina and Japan in a dialogue across distance and deep time. Building on past collaborations between pantanosumpf and GORGE.IN (hear pantanoGORGE -volcano version- and pantanoGORGE -swamp version-), Jurassic Gorge explores the possibilities of Gorge in a time before toms. These tracks reach back from our own period of mass extinction to another, a reminder that even as mountains endure, the ecosystems they support are often precarious.
About a year ago, I started trying to make Gorge using only FM synthesis. I knew it would be difficult. As anyone who's dug through old DX7 cartridge presets can tell you, traditional approaches to FM aren't very good at synthesizing percussion. That said, John Chowning—who invented FM synthesis in the late 60s—was himself a percussionist and was interested in the percussive possibilities of the medium. In the spirit of Chowning's own early experiments, I wanted to confront the challenge of synthesizing mountains from sine waves, which I thought might push me toward new possibilities both in Gorge and in FM synthesis.
Cybergorge Manifesto is a statement of everything I've learned in that pursuit so far. I haven't yet reached the summit, but I'm going to keep climbing.