Tommy Perman - artist and musician (formerly of FOUND), www.surfacepressure.net
- and Rob St. John - environmental writer and musician, robstjohn.co.uk
- began the Water of Life project in June 2013, aiming to use water as a divining rod for exploring ideas of 'naturalness' in Edinburgh’s urban environment. Water of Life is an alternative travelogue, where water is a conduit for exploring new geographies: field notes from a liquid city.
The package comprises: a letterpressed folder on recycled card, a 7" record pressed on recycled vinyl and a set of essays by Rob and prints by Tommy exploring the themes of the project, riso printed using soy inks on recycled paper.
The package is limited to 300 copies, released on 9th December 2013.
Recordings made with hydrophone, ambient and contact microphone recordings of rivers, spring houses, manhole covers, pub barrel rooms, pipelines and taps are mixed with the peals and drones of 1960s transistor organs, harmoniums, Swedish micro-synths, drum machines and iPads: a blend of the natural and unnatural; modern and antiquated; hi-fi and lo-fi. Drum beats were sampled from underwater recordings, and reverbs created using the convolution reverb technique to recreate the sonic space of different bodies of water.
Many of the sounds collected around Edinburgh and used to make the record are available on a sound map here: www.edinburghwateroflife.org/sound-map/
A: Sources and Springs / Abercrombie, 1949 (4.30)
Side A begins with a set of field recordings taken at the start of Edinburgh’s water network - the sources and springs at Talla, Harperigg and Comiston - slowly merging into a tune for Edinburgh’s imagined and unseen landscapes inspired by Abercrombie and Plumstead’s futurist vision for the city in 1949.
B: Liquid City / The Shellycoat (4.32)
Side B is about confluences through the city: the pipelines, storm drains and sewers leading to sanitation and the sea, ending in a set of voices singing an excavated children’s song about a watery spirit said to haunt the Pennybap boulder by Seafield Sewage Works.
Additional voices on 'The Shellycoat' by Ruben Bee, Clarissa Cheong and Neil Pennycook.