‘Stopping to wonder is not something that need disappear with childhood. Our driving force is rooted in curiosity and slowing down to look, listen and feel what’s around us. We often stop to wonder.’ So says the website for Somewhere-Nowhere, an environmental arts and research practice which has partly inspired this work by female electronic musician Veryan. The project is a wonderful mix of art, poetry, politics and awareness raising that has the idea of people and place at its heart. There are five guiding principles to Somewhere-Nowhere: journey – pause – reflect – respond – connect.
Here by Veryan carries that ethos and those principles and uses them to create a highly immersive listening experience. Wonder is not something that need disappear with childhood, and there quite rightly is no shortage of wonder here.
The album opens with Arrival; in this case what arrives first is a lovely piano intro, full of subtle pauses that help create space right from the very start of the record. Space is a theme here. Not outer-space but physical space and space in the sound – space to pause, space to reflect, space to respond. This allows the listener an opportunity to not just listen to the music as if on the outside, but to seek refuge within the musical landscape and to engage with it.
Purely on musical terms it is an enjoyable album, full of lush tonal electronica and quirky beats; but to engage with it on a deeper level is to be part of something bigger. It is an opportunity to engage with big issues in a way that isn’t overbearing or forced upon you. It is a piece of work that absorbs you and takes you on a journey where you can explore those big issues and philosophical questions, where you can think about people and place and landscape, about our relationship to geography and history, about climate change and biodiversity loss. In many ways Here operates on the same level as the writing of someone like Robert Macfarlane – it is engrossing but easy to engage with it. It takes you on journeys that open your mind to possibilities and allow you space and time to think. That is a powerful quality in any art and during difficult times where sometimes thinking clearly and reflectively is more challenging than it should be, it is all the more important.
Away from those big issues (if it is ever possible to truly separate art from concepts and the concerns of the day) it is an album of big skies and wide expanses – an album of awe. There’s a hint of the Kraftwerkian sound palette on tracks like Embrace and Outsiders. Departure is a modular lament to a world we are losing, underpinned by a beautifully haunting drone. There’s a glacial power to the ambience created on this record. Vast, slow, thoughtful – using space and creating space within the soundscape.
Perhaps the exception to that description would be the closing track. Here is the most urgent song on the record, full of fuzzy tonal electronics and a driving yet somehow shaky beat. This song is the call to action, the battle cry. We are people, linked to place and landscape. We are of this earth and we are destroying this earth. We are HERE and we must act. A great way to end a great album.
Quote taken from: https://www.somewhere-nowhere.com/