(New Album Review) David Evans- Suddenly Woken by the Sound of Stillness

A cozy sonic journey more or less perfect for nighttime reminiscence: David Evans’ Suddenly Woken by the Sound of Stillness, off Flaming Pines. Nothing too moody or alarming… it’s an album of field-recordings made on a trip along the Trans-Siberian Railway. Suddenly Woken by mastered by Lawrence English.

The singularly comforting rhythm of the click-clack of wheels on tracks, distant music, and ghostly, submerged processed sounds evoke the sense impressions of the traveler drifting in and out of consciousness through the long nights. For a travelogue undertaking such as this, Suddenly Woken gives a notably vague sense of place– the journey was definitely not approached from an intellectualizing “ethnographic” slant. What makes the document so affecting is the way that it gives off the romance of traveling alone, but an abstract part of it hard to put into words, like getting unknowingly lulled in the repetitive sounds of a car or plane’s ambient environment. Evans noted that more than once in the trip, he would fall asleep, but then wake up because the train had came to a stop in the middle of the night: the “sound of stillness” roused him awake. Time passes differently when you’re in transit– something hard to put into words that Evans’ collage straightforwardly conveys.

An oneiric sound artifact, sensitive and pregnant with mystery, just like the choral samples and drone that close the ending section to “Irkutsk to Moscow”, endlessly planing.


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