Kate Carr
It Was A Time Of Laboured Metaphors
Cassette HMS035

The Quietus

March 2016

Last year Kate Carr investigated the sounds of a single, specific place on I Had Myself A Nuclear Spring with a set of recordings from the wetlands that surround a nuclear power complex in Marnay-sur-Seine. Although documenting the relationship between man and the natural world, an aspect often edited out by field recordists, the striking album felt even more concomitant in its approach to describing the place with occasional, subtle embellishments from electronics and guitar helping to add an emotive dimension. It Was A Time Of Laboured Metaphors switches the emphasis around by giving most room to Carr’s hypnotic, pulsing refrains gilded by found sounds from a range of locations to remark on the emotions of being between states and the ensuing unreality of change. The album most clearly evokes this by largely alternating longer, primarily musical, collages with shorter, straighter environmental recordings. In this way Carr first casts unsettled, drifting meshes of memories on the air with stirring guitar strings, telephonic pulses and waning synth. But then follows by resting to listen in to a single place, such as Andalucia where a herd of goats gather, or simply the church bells spilling in through her bedroom window, their increasingly muted tones suggest a lulling to sleep. The artist recently moved home from Sydney to Belfast, so it is easy to interpret Laboured Metaphors as a travelogue of sorts. But, if this is the case, it is an emotionally holistic one: Carr’s sound world, at once both vivid and hypnotic, bridges the metaphysical and physical to describe the elusive inner worlds built by leaving firmer external ones. -- Russell Cuzner