Place Language is an international non-profit compilation album project inspired by the themes found in Robert Macfarlane’s widely-acclaimed book ‘Landmarks’. In particular it focuses on the book’s extensive topographic glossaries, the “word-hoard” of depictive landscape terms gathered from 30 different languages, dialects and sub-dialects around Britain & Ireland and divided into sections by type of terrain (Flatlands, Uplands, Waterlands, Coastlands, Underlands, Northlands, Edgelands, Earthlands and Woodlands).Relying on these topograms, or “tiny place poems”, as creative prompts, Place Language seeks to both inspire a renewed interest in our surroundings and reinvigorate our appreciation for the audible textures & patterns that characterize a place in keeping with the book’s stated desire to “re-wild” our vocabulary.
The collection features the work of 28 different sound-artists, field recordists, and musicians from around the globe each of whom selected a Landmarks topogram and recorded an impression of it thus adding rich new aspects of dimensionality through the act of sonification. These selections cover all nine of the book’s glossaries along with place-words of new coinage as prompted by the blank one which Macfarlane leaves at the end of the book for readers to fill in from their own experience. The end result is a truly global and collaborative survey of place, language, and sound.
The audio tracks created for the album have been mastered by Ian Hawgood (also a participating artist) and packaged in a special letter-pressed booklet for release by UK-based boutique label Fluid Audio with stunning visuals by American contemporary artist Gregory Euclide and a thought-provoking liner-note essay written by Robert Macfarlane himself. All proceeds from sales of Place Language will be donated to War Child, a charity organization that provides relief to children in areas of war and conflict; children without a place of their own.
Musical artists: Aaron Martin (USA), Anthéne (Canada), Benoît Pioulard (USA), Bethan Kellough (UK), Celer (Japan), Dalot (Greece), Federico Durand (Argentina), Hakobune(Japan), Hammock (USA), Hotel Neon (USA), Ian Hawgood (UK), Kate Carr (UK), Lawrence English (Australia), Lowercase Noises (USA), Marcus Fischer (USA), Melissa Pons(Sweden), Poemme (USA), Porya Hatami (Iran), Richard Skelton aka The Inward Circles(UK), Siavash Amini (Iran), Simon Scott (UK), Sound Awakener (Vietnam), The Green Kingdom (USA), Tobias Hellkvist (Sweden), Warmth (Spain), Wil Bolton (UK), and Yann Novak (USA).
"The quiet hope of ‘Landmarks’ was to ‘re-wild’ even a little of our available language for landscape, to celebrate and disseminate the extraordinary ‘word-hoard’ of coinages that has flourished historically – but thinned recently – for seeing, naming, and knowing aspects of place and its more-than-human life" – Robert Macfarlane
This is where it all started – the rich skein of natural, lingual, and literary references, the profound lyrical prose and elegant precision of language, the kinship with great landscape writers like Nan Shepherd and Barry Lopez, and, of course, the glossaries. For readers of Landmarks, it is also our own quiet hope that the music and art of Place Language will resonate with you in a meaningful way. On the other hand, if you are not familiar with the book or with Macfarlane’s work in general, we hope this will perhaps be the start of what it is sure to be an enlightening journey and a deeper appreciation of your own natural surroundings.
released October 2, 2019
All sounds recorded by the participating artists.
Audio mastered by Ian Hawgood.
Artwork by Gregory Euclide.
Liner notes by Robert Macfarlane.
Design by Daniel Crossley.
Book layout by Ian Hazeldine.
Special thanks to each and every participant for sharing with us a glimpse of these places; to Daniel and Gregory for your artwork and design; to Brian for curatorial and organization assistance; to you, the listener, for motivating us all with your support and enthusiasm; and of course, to Robert for the writings and observations that inspired this project.