Kollane is an album created during a residency at the Estonian Artists’ Association, Tallinn, October 2011. The single long track is named for the Estonian word for yellow, and is inspired by the vibrant autumnal foliage and historic architecture of the city. Processed acoustic guitar blends with a field recording made from the residency, which takes in street sounds, bells, the clicking of the electricity meter, the creaking of the vintage lift mechanisms, and the sound of the artist tearing and folding materials for the packaging.
The album was released by Time Released Sound as their first ‘mail art’ release:
TRS mailed 80 lovely hand made/printed/artified postcards to Wil at the residency in Tallinn. Wil put each of these postcards in an Estonian stamped envelope, along with souvenirs and detritus from Tallinn, and mailed them back to the label in Alameda. In an edition of only 80, each copy of this release will come with one of these unopened “mail art envelopes”, in an outer hand worked envelope, w/inner printed, and cotton sleeve lined translucent envelope, and a factory pressed replicated disc.
Released by Time Released Sound on CD with mail art packaging, in an edition of 80, 9 March 2012
Written and produced by Wil Bolton
Environmental sounds recorded during a residency at the Estonian Artists’ Association, Tallinn, October 2011
Photography by Wil Bolton
Design by Colin Herrick
Time Released Sound TRS-14
Also available digitally from bandcamp. The download also includes a bonus series of 80 photographs taken by the artist in Tallinn, Estonia.
“I find myself forgiving ambient music quite often. I, myself, am a performer in soundscape and ambient music and I am particularly interested in others that use found sounds in collaboration with synthetic sounds. With this practice comes the understand that is timing is not everything – it is the moment that counts. Wil Bolton’s new release (one track : 47 minutes long), Kollane, on the label Time Released Sound is a fantastic example of a great moment captured, and for more reasons than a prolonged drone.
We are told that the environmental found sounds were recorded during his residency in Tallinn during last October. From immediate intricate listening, we understand the sense of work being established in the sounds of picking things up, moving, walking; yet there is a sense of peace and concentration to these sounds. Unlike most soundscape field recording that takes samples usually from outside landscapes and nature, we are brought to a rather homely and more natural setting in the sense of self – we have the artist himself at work. That said, I find myself toiling over the balance between these sounds and the beautiful pedal drone that plays throughout, a constant to aid your concentration and mediation on the environment that Bolton brings us into. Creeping in every so often are the waves of the higher passing sounds of droned out acoustic guitar lashing over us. Bolton has done well to create each and every movement to sound different in texture and timbre. Sometimes a little soft, sometimes harsher yet all the same, lovely.
I find the lack of timing sense prominent and enjoyable. The only indication that things are coming to a close are that certain sounds fade away in the soundscapes and drones. 45 minutes later and I’m finding myself rejoining the low hum of my crappy stereo system and the fan of my laptop, along with the fading sounds of Bolton picking things up, moving, walking and the other motions. It is not the most technically advanced piece I’ve heard and the depth of detail is not great, yet it’s certainly not boring.” – Beard Rock
“The difficulty in composing a piece of music that is inspired by, or directly about a specific location, is that when the composition is perceived outside of its geographical context, it can often lose it’s emotional significance. Compositions that use field recordings as a major part of their sound palate often suffer from this problem. Field recordings contain specific auditory reference points to their place of origin and source, if the listener has to work to unravel these connections their emotional engagement with the composition can suffer.
Wil Bolton’s new release ‘Kollane’, made during a residency at the Estonian Artists’ Association in Tallinn, does not suffer from this problem.
As with the majority of Bolton’s output under his own name, field recordings are an integral part of the sound palette. What makes them work in this context is the restraint he shows in their use. He does not attempt to document the city in its auditory entirety, but instead uses field recordings to give voice to his place within the city’s ecosystem, presenting an intimate snapshot of his own experiences.
The precise control on display in this piece is remarkable; Bolton fragments and submerges melody among beds of droning ambient textures provoking a nebula of emotions, unidentified, buried, hidden. This gives the piece a melancholic familiarity, as if the narrative is responding to the listener’s own memories and experiences.
Coming to an end at the 47-minute mark, ‘Kollane’ is also long. It needs to be. This paean to Tallinn sees Bolton in duet with the city, responding to its transients with minute adjustments of timbre, density, and volume. Intricacies are revealed in slow tidal movements that provoke submission to the sound, whilst field recordings provide regular points of departure that strengthen the narrative and stop the piece from becoming too static.
‘Kollane’ is a fascinating account of Wil Bolton’s residency in Tallinn. It is an oneiric journey through the fabric of a city where the exploration of the areas sonic topography blurs the boundaries between the personal and the universal and sits comfortably in a discography that gets more impressive with each release.” – Future Sequence
“Kollane is the first TRS release themed around the concept of ‘mail art,’ Wil Bolton conspiring with head Herrick to get conceptual on us over its ‘inherent collaborative and mutually inspirational references.’ The story goes that Bolton participated in an art residency in Tallinn, Estonia, to which location TRS mailed 80 handmade artified postcards, each of which he put into an Estonian stamped envelope and mailed them back with disc along with souvenirs and detritus from Tallinn. Kollane (‘yellow’ in Estonian) is a fairly simple extended piece wrought from a single field recording made from the window of the residency studio, allowing street sounds, bells, the click and the creak of electricity meter and old elevator mechanisms and the sound of tearing and folding of packaging materials to combine in felicitous communion with Bolton’s acoustic guitar musings. Tallinn’s transients are solicitously mediated by Bolton, who calibrates a shifting balance between these sound captures and the droning exchanges that play through them with subtle tweaks of timbre and volume. Shreds of half-buried melody occasionally detach themselves from layers of droning guitar figures, small gestures snagging a slew of emotions, half-realized, lending a poignant familiarity for the listener whose own experiential narrative it might suggestively soundtrack. Kollane is essentially a fleeting snapshot extended to album length, as if to document a city’s contours, a lull and sway of tidal motion converging in a site for mental drift. Transients forestall stasis, providing staging posts in an architecture of sound that both suggests and reflects, while leaving space to make it personal.” – Igloomag