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The Sacrifice

by Flora Yin Wong

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about

In 2020, a year shaped by stringent COVID-19 restrictions, many of us paused for thought about our collective futures. For First Light Records, this reflection, plus the support of Sound and Music’s Composer-Curator programme, led to the development of Unbuilt Sound, a new series of commissions centred around acoustic ecology; the relationship between listener and environment.

The first iteration of the Unbuilt Sound series sees Flora Yin-Wong retreat to an isolated cabin outside Machynlleth, North Wales, to collect the field recordings that provide the basis for her folklore-inspired album, The Sacrifice.

Nestled within the UNESCO Dyfi Biosphere, Machynlleth is home to The Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT), which functions as a site to explore practical solutions for a carbon-free future. The area’s uncanny and untouched natural surroundings, punctuated by the remains of industrial mines, embody a parallel and possible present that provides momentary sanctuary from the climate predicament that faces our contemporary societies.

In Flora’s own words: “Taking its name from a modern adaption of The Mabinogion, the earliest collection of mythic Welsh stories, The Sacrifice is an isolated reflection on the earthen landscape of weaving valleys and still lakes. Inspired by the mytho-historical figures who appear – architects of destinies and synthetic beings who make shamanic journeys of redemption.”

A collage of twisted field recordings, rich waves of synth, and whispered vocals, The Sacrifice oscillates between gentle familiarity and dreamlike distortions, inspiring a folkloric sense of place that extends across time. Softly dissonant drones envelop the sounds of rocks underfoot and rippling pools, a continuous call and response between artist and landscape. These themes are perhaps best captured on ‘Willow Bends’, which features spoken word written and performed by Berlin's Rachel Lyn. “Ride,” she says, “these ancient and contemporary currents, carrying their secrets from up-stream. Wanderwaves, when pebbles skip across the ripples, I reflect upon it, this water mirror...”

credits

released November 16, 2021

Mastered by Dominic Clare at Declared Sound.
Artwork and design by Vera Gomes.
Lyrics on 'Willow Bends' written and performed by Rachel Lyn.
Special thanks to Ciaran Hoogendoorn, Adam Sherry, and Andrej Chudý.
This project was made possible by Sound and Music's Composer-Curator programme.

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Flora Yin Wong London, UK

Modern Love / PAN

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