Italy’s invisibilia editions continues their stellar run with this dual reissue from Australia’s Ron Nagorcka. With recent interest in ambient music that combines nature field recordings and gentle music (“birdbient” as Jake Muir coined – at least I think it was Jake), these 30+-year-old recordings from Nagorcka are decades ahead of the current. With the album titles, it’s easy to get a grasp of this work before hearing it, but Nagorcka’s musical elements and the unique environment where the field recordings come from set this apart from so many others.
I keep returning to the enchantments of “Lemarrcootya (Grey Shrike-thrush)” from Lovregana. Nagorcka’s ability to blur the line between the Grey Shrike-thrush’s wild song and his languid, swirling synthesis is fantastic. As these twisted circus melodies loop and repeat, it’s almost as if they begin to fall apart. This duet with these birds feels oddly sad, an endless call and response where no one gets an answer. Nagorcka’s sense of how to combine these incredible recordings with thematic instrumentation and composition is impeccable. His accompaniment is often minimal but adds so much to the pieces.
Among Ron Nagorcka’s many talents, he is an accomplished didjeridu player and composer. While his music education focused on pipe organ and harpsichord, during his time studying at Melbourne University and later the University of California San Diego, he found great influence and inspiration from Australian indigenous culture, which led to these didjeridu pursuits. Soundscapes From Wilderness showcases some of these ideas, with Nagorcka less aurally present, but his spirit guiding throughout.
The incredible 15-minute expanse of “Rainforest In N. Tasmania (With Didjeridu)” is surprisingly meditative and enthralling. For nearly half the piece, the sounds of the rainforest overwhelm. Teeming with life and energy, the recording is a non-stop sonic adventure. When Nagorcka’s hypnotic didjeridu drones fade-in, the effect is utterly mesmerizing. His playing fits in seamlessly, adding new textural layers that further highlight these incredible natural sounds. It’s beautiful.
It’s taken far too long for me to learn about the incredible work of Ron Nagorcka and hopefully releases like these will introduce his work to a new audience. His studies in sound have been going on for decades and he continues until this day. This dual release from invisibilia editions is the perfect introduction to this entrancing world of sound.
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