Talking Rain - Harangue I - Earsay Productions

Review I
From Vital e-zine in the Netherlands, Week 45 Number 199

HARANGUE I - compilation (CD on Earsay Productions) Yes, I'm also a little dabbling in the so called 'world music' in search for music that affects me or sounds interesting to me for some reason. I just like music and so it is a pleasure to discover what kinds of music have been developed within different cultural contexts. Why should I limit myself to western music? Mostly the term 'world music' refers to traditional forms of music. Music that reflects and expresses a specific cultural identity. What has this introduction to do with the cd 'Harangue 1'? Well contributors to this cd come from very different parts of the world: Canada (Hildegard Westerkamp), Argentina (Damian Keller, who likes to listen to tango), New Zealand (Susan Frykberg), Italy (Giorgio Magnanensi), Canada (Andrew Czink & John Oliver). So it came to my mind if it makes any sense to think of 'world music' when we consider electroacustic music. Is electro-acustic music product of one (western) culture or is electroacustic music - the way it is produced - more of a musical instrument that can be used within different cultural contexts. Is there a typical european, american of latin-american kind of electro-acustic music? I don't know. Or is electro-acustic music a sort of meta-cultural platform where influences of different cultures are at work?

To end this series of questions I must say that I like the piece by Hildegard Westerkamp most. It is a piece where environmental sounds (lots of rain: nature not culture!) are transformed and manipulated into a very enjoyable piece. It reminded me of the films of Tarkovsky, who made a very careful use of sound and music in his films. Rain plays here a big role. Westerkamp and the other contributors were more or less unknown to me. Czink and Oliver are also both co-director of Earsay Productions. "The label showcases composers whose work shares a concern for rich, carefully crafted sound and a gutsy, intense sensibility. The music ranges from pure acoustic to the sonic explorations of electroacoustics and soundscape works." Most pieces on this cd are intense and dramatic. Few dull moments. All by all a very diverse overview of current electro-acustic music (DM).

Earsay productions website

Review II
Excerpted from review by
George Zahora in SPLENDID E-ZINE...week of April 20, 1998
Splendid E-Zine website

...Hildegard Westerkamp's "Talking Rain" uses snippets of recorded rainfall, using them to build melodies, percussion patterns and intricate textures -- it's perhaps the most intriguing work on the disc...
Review III
Excerpted from the Computer Music Journal,
summer 1999, review of Harangue 1 Reviewed By Robert Cummings

Talking Rain rather rescues this disc from the mostly mediocre content elsewhere. Ms. Westerkamp's rain is animated and evocative, peaceful and ominous, cold and warm. It is harmonized in places by other sounds from nature, like birds, but intruded upon by those from the city, like cars, the human voice, and footsteps. Processing is relatively modest in much of the piece, the composer allowing nature to tell its story. When the processing becomes dominant, it is quite often in the mimicking or exaggeration of the sound of rain itself. Try the passage beginning around 7:34, where the droplets become rapid and high-pitched, scurrying about to a background of slower droplets seeming to strike hollow wood or metal. A downpour ensues amid busy sounds from trucks and cars, all to wonderful effect. This 17-minute-plus piece is by far the longest and, more importantly, most rewarding work here. In addition, the composer's notes about the rain sounds (from the west coast of British Columbia) and about the work in general are most informative.
Review IV

Excerpted from Leonardo Music Journal Review of immersion
- melbourne - 7 june - 14 june 1999 reviewed by Warren Burt

I was familiar with Hildegard Westerkamp's lovely "Talking Rain" from its appearance on the Musicworks 72 CD. This familiarity made me appreciate the quality of the Dolby sound system even more than with the other works. Sounds that had before been arrayed in a stereo space were now moving about in planes of space, things had a real volume, and the recording of trucks on a rainy highway, about halfway through the piece, were positively awesome. In this piece, I saw that we had finally reached that state Varese was looking for where volumes and planes of sound could move through space.
Complete list of compositions on harangue I:

1. shadeless, peopled/ Andrew Czink
2. Astonishing Sense... / Susan Frykberg
3. To Lions Gate / Damian Keller
4. Talking Rain / Hildegard Westerkamp
5. Copper Flying /John Oliver