A Note From Leighton Craig
Portrait of an Atmosphere was recorded with the intention of crafting a long duration work of constituent parts; a suite of related compositions to be listened to as a singular narrative. It focuses on acoustic elements to achieve the kind of sound immersion that is central to our practice, without using the typical palette of reverb and delay. It is rewarding for us, that in the absence of these tools, it still enters the dream-float realm, attaining that sense of something ‘other’. It is at once the least and most Primitive Motion-sounding album to date.
The title of the album has been taken from one of Sandra’s cut-poems, an ongoing series of work where she reduces/cuts the text on the page of a found book to arrive at a poetic denouement. In this context it seems fitting that some recordings on the album also have the sense of being cut together, although perhaps more as collage than reduction. Most obviously Portrait IV joins a piano track with fragments of studio improvisation, a drifting fog that finally clears by restating the single-string guitar motif of Portrait I. The beginning at the end; mirror in a mirror.
The final track on the album, Trenches of Time (another cut-poem title), sits outside the Portrait suite but shares the same path of call and response intra-studio exchanges and acoustic intervention. But this album is more than a recording project. It represents the ongoing thread of non-verbal conversation that passes between sound makers, and has been exchanged between these band members for over a decade, captured here in an evolving dialect. It’s a peculiar language that can be understood through the bowing of a cymbal and the wheezing of a reed organ. It’s this conversation that is the joy and otherness of making music.
Recorded and produced by Primitive Motion between 2018 and 2020 at Kindling House and Woodburn Laboratory, Meanjin/Brisbane, Australia.
Sandra Selig: voice, handclap, flute, cymbals, melodica, radio, saxophone, glass bowl, drums, marble in bamboo, zither, wind chimes, bowed cymbal.
Leighton Craig: acoustic guitar, reed organ, cymbals, field recordings (Kyoto Japan), tremolo guitar, miniature saxophone, voice, piano, metal stool, bird call, synthesiser, wind chimes, shaker, timber box.