Sarah Hughes – I love this city and its outlying lands (Mappa Editions)

Mechanical Elements 1926 by Fernand L?ger 1881-1955
Mechanical Elements, Fernand Léger, 1926. Sarah Hughes made I love this city and its outlying lands in response to the French cubist’s work.

Porous sounds from multi-disciplinary artist Sarah Hughes, on I love this city and its outlying lands, a single 27 minute track with enough space and time to fully decant yourself into it.

The sounds used are softly struck piano notes, deployed singly or in simple clusters either side of gaps often lasting several seconds. Gently undulating bass tones. Little fluttery glitches. Digital twitches and electronic scurrying. A soft machine shimmer, the hum of a static device. Whistling, creaking. Coming and goings. At times almost silent. All this sparse to the point of almost total diffusion in parts.


Concrete sounds. Rummaged objects. A high-register tinnitus-like whistle. Tape surface fuzz. Room to let in plenty of sound from whatever environment you listen to it in. The writing of this piece incorporated police sirens, dog barks, a heated conversation and the clacking of magpies among other additions without distraction.

The title of this release comes from an accompanying text, an excerpt of which is below:

‘Sheep fur on the couch. You straighten out all the folds. Mute TV. Documentary program- wolves, octopus, worms and a shark. Clock metronome. One minute, two minutes, twenty-seven minutes. 60% polyester pyjamas. Brain-shaped smog behind the window. Smoke, dust or just fog. You put wax in one ear, cotton in the other. I love this city and its outlying lands. My romantic landscape.’

Reading that, I love this city and its outlying lands remains inscrutable. Sound as landscape, but one fogged or smogged to abstraction, a mental low-rise edgeland sprawl to meander thoughtfully through. A deceptively clean page that actually froths with subtle activity and deftly manipulated texture.

I love this city and its outlying lands is released by Mappa Editions. Artwork by Andrea Šafaříková.

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