Stromboli (Ash International) is an active volcano on the Northern coast of Sicily. It’s also the title of the latest LP (yep vinyl) from Norwegian sound artist Geir Jenssen. Jenssen went to the volcano in July last year and recorded on the crater’s edge. What he captured was a series of minor eruptions.
It’s an immense boom that reverberates around the crater; sounding like he’s employed phasing effects, but the reality is that he’s recording beside the biggest reverb chamber in the world. There’s something about the unpredictability of the sound. Despite the relative warmth and beauty of the explosions, you can hear the violence and destructive power that underlie it.
The B-side is his dub, where he appears to have employed some slight delay and perhaps arranged the piece in a more dynamic manner, offering fewer gaps between explosions. It’s a remarkable and compelling recording, though to be fair he has some form in this area. In 2000 he released Cho Oyu 8201m: Field Recordings From Tibet (Ash International), documenting his 45-day climb to the summit of the sixth highest summit in the world. Recordings have rarely gone this high before, and aside from a compelling diary, the recordings feature everything from tabla to snowstorms, with perhaps the most compelling moment being when you can actually hear his panicked shortness of breath.
Jenssen is better known as Biosphere, and his series of gorgeous ambient sonic flourishes for Touch, though whether it’s his music or volcano explosions, you always know with Jenssen, it’s quality.