Glåsbird’s travelogue of sound advances further, with this seventh edition in the series heading to warmer, more exotic climes. The A Sonic Expedition series is this anonymous artist’s armchair exploration of the world around us and it has to date put down roots in Greenland, Svalbard, Norway, Novaya Zemlya, Siberia and the Himalayas. With this latest excursion, the snowy, treacherous peaks of Everest are traded for the tropically vast Pacific Ocean.
As fans of the artist will already be aware, Glåsbird researches each geographic location with great intrigue and fascination, scouring Google Earth satellite imagery, watching documentaries, reviewing vintage maps and reading articles about its history and culture. Whilst the enormity of this ocean was obvious from looking at the globe, what became apparent was the scale of diversity across the thousands of islands in the region, whether it be the landscapes, culture or even the rare species of bird. Studying history revealed some dark tales, of challenging sea voyages, crocodiles and even cannibalism. As always, it also gave the artist opportunity to make new discoveries, such as how atolls are formed from ancient volcanoes and theories on how the Moai of Easter Island were moved across the landscape.
Glåsbird felt that their now signature modern classical style needed to change for this record, as these ambient portraits of the Pacific offer surely the most adventurous sound to date from this artist. Percussive rhythms were carved out of cheap percussion instruments, exotic polyrhythms glisten alongside sounds of rolling ocean waves and the thriving nature scenes. Sun bleached tape decays atop warm, ebbing bass and synth tones.
In Pacifica, Glåsbird traces a set route from one island to the next, marked by each track on the album. It begins with a view of La Perouse Pinnacle from inside the French Frigate Shoals. This pillar of rock has been known to cause shipwrecks and general confusion amongst seafarers who’d mistaken it for a ship when seen from distance. The journey continues many miles of sea south, to the triangular shaped Kingman Reef before heading off to explore the lake in the middle of Washington Island, also known as Teraina. The journey heads a long way across the ocean in an easterly direction, to the Galápagos Islands and then onto the remote Easter Island, home of the Moai stones. The next leg of the journey returns in a westerly direction, arriving at Mangareva which is the main part of the Gambier Islands. The French Polynesian paradise island of Bora Bora follows, before a stop at the small wooded island of Tafahi in Tonga. Inyeug, the most northerly island of Vanuatu is the next destination, famed for Queen Elizabeth II’s visit back in 1974. The tempo of the percussive loops notches up a little, as the next track represents the Solomon Islands and then this tour ends on the island of Yap, with echoes of Yapese rituals and lapping ocean waves closing the final piece which is called Rumung.
Written and produced by Glåsbird
Mastered by James Edward Armstrong
Art and design by Andrew Heath
Cover photography by Garth Rogers in 1969, licensed under the
Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International