Rob Price
Gutbrain Records
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2018 November 12 • Monday

For the 543rd Soundtrack of the Week we just wanted to do something different. And so here we have what is probably most of the score for a movie called Here at the Waters’ Edge and it’s more or less by Leo Hurwitz and Charles Pratt. The score doesn’t really have a composer per se, as it consists of field recordings of sounds “in and around the Port of New York”.

Before you get agitated, let me assure you that I’m aware of and even sympathetic to the ideas of found or ready-made art and improvisation and chance operations as a form of composition. Nevertheless, whatever “composition” content might be contained herein must be minimal, it seems to me.

So what will you hear? Not much in the way of music, except in a John Cage sort of way. The closest things to musical instruments are rather magnificent foghorns and deep-throated ships’ whistles, as well as what sounds like trolley bells (though I believe that NYC’s streetcars were already gone by the time of this recording).

You’ll also hear the sounds of waves, trains, industrial machinery, birds, children’s voices, airplanes and such. It’s described on the back of the record as an “abstract symphony”, which seems fair enough, though it could certainly be more abstract and more symphonic. The liner notes also assert that it will “affect you deeply”, which simply wasn’t at all true in my case, though I did appreciate it as an interesting document.