Orla Wren - Soil StepsSoil Steps
is a sonic journey constructed from sounds Tui (Orla Wren) recorded during his travels through the Iberian wilderness and its border villages. Although most of the sounds are natural (e.g., brooks, insects, birdsong) or incidental (e.g., a car passing by, people talking on the street), they are mixed in with some of Tui's atomistic, micro-sound experimentation, which gives the piece a surreal quality--as if it is part natural history and part fiction. Listening to this in a single sitting is an incredible experience because the album truly transports you to another place.
This is easily a contender for one of my favorite releases of the year. It might not appeal to everyone here because it is on the far extreme acoustic/field end of the ambient/drone continuum; the electronics and synthesis are not the focus. But, if you have any interest in this kind of experimental work, Chris Watson's recordings, or organic dronescapes, this is worth a careful listen.
This peacock makes a vocal appearance around 22 mins in to the album. Tui was kind enough to send me a disambiguating photo after I inquired about what my daughter had described as "the sounds of a loud and strange cat."