Caught by the River

Rivertones 7: I Had Myself A Nuclear Spring

Kate Carr | 18th May 2016

kate carr web sizeWe are excited to announce the release of field recordist Kate Carr’s I Had Myself A Nuclear Spring on Rivertones, due 26 August 2016. Previously only available as a download or USB via Kate’s label Flaming Pines, this eerie symphony of cracking power lines, cries of water birds and whining nuclear towers will be available on CD, vinyl and digital formats. Preorder the album here. All preorders come with an exclusive download of the track ‘Rising Waters (Alone in the Dark)’ within 24 hours of purchase.

Kate was first brought to our attention by Cheryl Tipp, curator of Wildlife & Environmental Sounds at the British Library. Cheryl guest-edited An Antidote To Indifference Issue 13: Field Recording Special #2, which featured an article by Kate entitled ‘Real and Imaginary Journeys in Belfast’.

I Had Myself A Nuclear Spring came to fruition in 2015, when Kate spent a month alone in Marnay, a small town of about 200 people in the champagne district of France. The surrounding woodlands – full of mud, water, rusting machinery, old boats, logs, and birds – provided an astonishing soundscape which Kate was determined to document. Procuring a rusty bike, she spent time slipping, sliding, falling and wading through bogs, ponds, surging streams and flooded fields. “These muddy marshes filled with buzzing electrical towers, corroded machinery, shrieking birds and canals feeding a nuclear complex were like nothing I had ever seen,” she notes. The neighbouring power station blocked Kate’s interpretation of the natural landscape, both metaphorically and quite literally. “The high capacity electricity cabling itself rendered some types of recording almost impossible – hydrophones no longer captured underwater sounds but, due to high levels of electromagnetism, a rather bracing electrical hum.” These interruptions lend to the heightened tension throughout the record, which uses melody quietly and sparingly to draw the ear towards the uneasy dialogue between simmering electricity and the sounds of the marsh, the nuclear and the wildfowl.

Listen to a stream of ‘Rising Waters (Alone in the Dark)’ from the album below:

Kate will be making live appearances at The Good Life Experience on September 18, and at London’s Café Oto on September 22. You can read Luke Turner’s review of I Had Myself A Nuclear Spring here.