Tarab is the name that Australian sound-artist Eamon Sprod chose to make his own music and this is his second full-length after an excellent CD on the Naturestrip label. As for this one, it is not a surprise to find it released on 23five which is both a label and a nonprofit organization which has always supported the groundbreaking works of artists such as John Duncan, Christina Kubisch, Francisco Lopez or Coelacanth amongst others.
What strikes one first here is the the quality of the field recordings as well as their dynamics. In the dizzying overture, for instance, you can distinctly hear distant waves crashing, the sound of water gurgling through a rusted water pipe, sparse metallic rubbings ? the whole thing quickly turning into a multi-layered ?drone? full of underlying tension... until the sound of a broken glass pierces the air. This is really impressive. From the start, you know that this album will be very special.
Throughout the disc, each sonic event thus resonates with the utmost clarity. Yet, they are arranged in such a way as to appear both very close and distant at the time. Actually, the more you listen to this CD, the more you get the impression that the sounds are saying something... which is not only is due to the musical quality of the recordings, but also to the way they constantly overlap and follow one another.
What makes Tarab unique, however, is that he neither reproduces, nor juxtaposes carefully-isolated field recordings, but creates highly evocative soundscapes made of multiple and conflicting sources : be it the wind in the trees, the chirping of locusts, the sound of a running stream or metal objects & crumbling leaves being rummaged through, all are heard conversing together, in one voice or in turns.
These are sound events which are orchestrated in such a way as to create an abstract ?symphony? of sorts ? with its own movements and variations, each of them displaying a variety of emotional colors. The way Tarab suggests the intervention of a human presence is thus fairly unique. Whether it is at the source of the recordings themselves or situated at a crossroads of various manipulations (on site or at home ? via the machines), new ?impossible? spaces constantly appear before our ears. This is neither a lament on the disappearance of things past, nor a naive celebration of change; its poetics is more of a ?phonographic? kind, engaging us to listen and reflect upon these mirroring re-creations.
After the music has stopped, my memory of it seems to take a life of its own. And this just feels like any great musical piece I may have heard ? not just a ?wonderful? CD in the field recordings category. In this sense, I think the title of the album ? the five words of which actually correspond to its five tracks ? shouldn?t be taken lightly.
?Wind Keeps Even Dust Away? almost reads like an haiku ? no doubt its meaning is open to multiple interpretations, but after several listens, I felt it was particularly appropriate since Tarab?s music breathes with life, simply. It is suffused with of all of the chaotic, yet secretly-organized interactions we have with the world around us.
I would also like to mention that ?Tarab? is actually an Arabic word that doesn?t really translate into English. It?s known to express the ?ecstatic surrender one can experience when listening to music? which I see here more as a nod to the profound musicality that permeates this work than anything else. 9/10 -- Francois Hubert (31 July, 2007)