Tarab — An incomplete yet fixed idea

Symphonies of Dirt | Tarab’s An Incomplete yet Fixed Idea (Aposiopèse, 2017).
There are field recordists and then there are those who will crawl around in the dirt for that perfect sound. Since his debut album from 2004, Surfacedrift, Tarab’s Eamon Sprod has been fine-tuning his unique brand of highly immersive, geographically targeted sound work. Contrary to your typical passive recordist, Sprod likes to get up close with his environments, his sound design often necessitating a physical engagement—you might even say, relationship—with his locales. However compelling, this engagement can be fleeting, resulting in “half narratives” that when strung together tell the story of a vagabond’s unquenched desire to free the sounds trapped within this earth. It’s no wonder he once titled an album, I’m Lost, because he’d probably stay that way if he could.

Sprod’s sound palette has remained more or less the same over the years, and An Incomplete Yet Fixed Idea keeps on track. We’re graced with hissing fissures, nondescript rattlings and scrapings, the incessant buzz and churn of bygone industrial wares, symphonies of dirt, tactile grime, foraged sounds, abused sounds, and sounds of rain—we’ll leave it there but that’s just scraping the surface (sounds of scraped surfaces!). Compositionally, this is one of Tarab’s tightest, the transitions between his fragmented narratives feeling all the more succinct. An important factor in Tarab’s music is juxtaposition, and Sprod only seems to be getting better at it. The quick, frenetic energy of his more spastic recordings balance out with cavernous drones and booming rain, to the extent that after it’s all done one can almost make out the topography of the artist’s sonic playground. This is but a testament to Sprod’s command of the visceral capacity of environmental recordings.

The aforementioned recordings of rain feature regularly on An Incomplete Yet Fixed Idea, which is a phenomenon that I can’t imagine Sprod experiences too often in his native Australia, but who knows? The frequent return to rain punctuates the album with a gratifying sense of home, as if each time marks a new movement in the work, a new chapter in this story. As a very recognizable recording, the rain breaks up the two 20 minute tracks into something more digestible—it’s easy to lose all sense of time and direction when engrossed in a Tarab album. Ultimately, this is only one element in the complex sound world sculpted by Sprod. His recordings, though often fragmented and quick to expire, are the seed from which his compositions grow. On An Incomplete yet Fixed Idea, he’s proven himself once again.

The Alcohol Seed

Tarab is the Australian fellow who’s very preoccupied with landscape and objects and weather and such, and is probably not far apart from his American counterpoint Jim Haynes. Matter of fact Tarab appeared on a label associated with Haynes (23five) for his last release I’m Lost which caused reviewer Jennifer Hor to start compiling sympathetic shopping lists of stuff she could hear on these aural dramas – concrete and plastic bags which appeared to be covering up the countryside, submerging it, even. I suspect Tarab is not one to ignore rubbish or garbage as he dons his field-recording boots and traverses heaps and hillocks with his roving mikes, in fact I expect he positively welcomes it and documents the detritus of our throw-away culture with seriousness and rigour.

None of this necessarily applies to today’s record, An Incomplete Yet Fixed Idea (APO 13), released on the French label Aposiopèse. But we can sense the deliberately aimless manner in which he conducts each daily trudge around the forbidden zones where few dare to tread, letting the tins cans fall where they may. Two suites of around 20 minutes each comprise what is evidently a series of collages, where interesting diaristic snapshots and sound-photos are cut and pasted together and arranged in an order – though nothing so ordinary as a photo album order, with captions and numbers – which makes intuitive sense to Tarab, as he scuttles about the terrain much like the scarab beetle he so much resembles (in name, at any rate).

This restless collage method makes the entire record extremely interesting and mysterious, an exciting trawl through unknown terrains, represented by multiple timbres and tones that don’t really match up. Seagulls and roaring waves slug it out with industrial tanks and metal drums rolling about, and plenty of other bumpety-drone-clunky-battering sounds that are hard to identify, emerging as merely abstract blurs and streaks when processed by the microphones. In doing this, Tarab creates a strongly kaleidoscopic and fragmented view of the modern world, as he attempts to make some sense of it. Or perhaps, rather, the opposite; he attempts to reveal the underlying chaos and absurdity of the surface world... From 16 May 2017.

The sound projector

Tarab alias Eamon Sprod appartient à cette famille de musiciens (comme Eric La Casa, Thomas Tilly ou Cédric Peyronnet par exemple) qui composent une musique concrète qui révèlent ses sources issues d’enregistrements de terrain ou également baptisés field recordings.
Tarab ne cherche absolument pas à conserver une idée de réalité mais plus à composer avec ces éléments dans un montage dynamique et toujours surprenant.
L’ambiance générale est liée à une idée de ruines et d’abandon, d’objets et de lieux fantomatiques. 300 copies. Recommandé !


Eamon Sprod is a Melbourne, Australia-based sound artist who releases work under the name Tarab. Today, we listen to his upcoming effort An incomplete yet fixed idea which is out on Aposiopèse–a non-profit record label based in France and Belgium. Tarab’s work involves the re-contextualization of found sounds and field recordings, and while he’s been active since 2011, this is his first release for the experimental acoustics label Aposiopèse. Composed of two long-form tracks running just under, and right at, twenty minutes, An incomplete yet fixed idea continues Tarab’s fascination with

“discarded things, found things, crawling around in the dirt, junk, the ground, rocks, dust, wind, walking aimlessly, scratchy things, [and] decay…”

The artist’s sound collecting strategies in the past have reportedly involved the kinds of visceral interactions between Sprod’s microphone and the environment that includes burying it in the ground or scraping it across surfaces, what he might be referring to when he says, “crawling around in the dirt…”; but, beyond that, Sprod also seems to take a very hands-on approach to re-contextualizing the sources through constant processing and recycling of these field recordings. The result on “An incomplete yet fixed idea I“, which you can listen to below, is a psycho-acoustic journey through sound and silence. Blurring the lines between the natural environments of his original recordings and the processing they undergo subsequently, Tarab draws the listener into fascinating acoustic spaces that seem at once familiar and alien all at the same time

Live eye




"Careful arrangements of sonic rubbish." That's one hell of a great artist's statement, courtesy of Eamon Sprod (aka Tarab). Over the past decade, this Australian sound-artist has quietly produced some of the finer examples of composition through field recording. His work is a far cry from the pleasantries of a soft ambient whoosh set as the backdrop to various birdsongs plopped willy-nilly for the listener to identify. There's always the threat of psychological, psychic and existential violence lurking throughout Sprod's work. When the insect chorales push through to the foreground, it's symbolic of pestilence, disease, blight and the simple fact that much in the outback can fucking kill you. It's easy to tap into the ultra-violent, post-apocalyptic, doomsayer and/or isolationist scenarios mapped out elsewhere through the Australian psyche (e.g. Mad Max, Chopper, On The Beach, Bad Boy Bubby, etc.), and Sprod carves out his own niche in digging through the hinterlands of urban neglect, locating meaning of psychogeographical import (or the lack there of) within a recontextualized sound object. Since his debut Surfacedrift back in 2004, Sprod's work has steadily exhibited a maturation in conceptualization and aesthetic complexity, leading to his first piece of vinyl as An Incomplete Yet Fixed Idea.

He eschews any notation as to the sources of these sounds on An Incomplete Yet Fixed Idea, but their meaning is clear. This environment is a hostile one. Torn metal and shattered concrete rupture in tandem with stinging buzzes and noxious industrial vibration throughout the album that takes its composition cues from the G*Park, Dave Phillips and Francisco Meirino as well as Luc Ferrari and Michel Chion. Brilliant work as always, from Tarab

Stranded records

In the forty minutes this record lasts there is much to be enjoyed. From obscured rumble of dirt found in the desert, to kicking around in an abandoned industrial site, wind over barren land, animal sounds and Tarab takes you on an audio journey through Australia I would think; there are no locations mentioned. In fact there is hardly any information at all on this record. That perhaps adds to the mystery of it all?
Tarab tells only the story he wants to tell and the rest remains a mystery. That makes most intriguing music, and ‘An Incomplete Yet Fixed Idea’ a great record. (LP by Aposiopese). (FdW)

Vital Weekly

Tarab focuses on a hazy journey with the engrossing “An Incomplete Yet Fixed Idea”. Capturing field recordings alongside electro-acoustic manipulations, the songs have a surreal quality to them. By trying to offer another view of the sonic universe that surrounds, it at times feels almost real, like being out in the center of the world. Other moments search for the truly unusual, the unique characteristics that give a geographic locale its true spirit. Drones shimmer on by with the utmost of care, as Tarab lets the high and low frequencies intermingle in a glorious tapestry of sound.
“Side A” offers the quieter experience. At first seemingly running through frequencies, the sound eventually settles for a moment. Gradually Tarab lets additional layers of sound into the mix giving it a rich, bubbling cauldron sort of take. Eventually Tarab flirts with elements of noise and outright chaos, for the song gains a playful nature to it. For much of “Side A” though Tarab is content to live within the mellowed hues of a sound. Towards the latter half of the song this proves to be particularly true. With “Side B” Tarab takes nearly an industrial approach to the soundscapes. Metallic clangs and eerie threatening sounds dominate much of the side. By far the highlight, Tarab shows the darker nature of the aural universe. In fact, about a third of the way through it fully submerges into pure, unkempt noise. The final moments of the track merely emphasize this, ending in a glorious blurred cloud of static.
With “An Incomplete Yet Fixed Idea” Tarab sculpts a flawless, coherent amplification of the world

Beach Sloth

Habitué des friches industrielles et autres endroits désolés, l’Australien Eamon Sprod s’emploie sous le nom de Tarab à une collecte de sons qui lui serviront à composer d’autres paysages, pas plus rassurants pour autant.
Hier mis au jour par les labels 23five, Unfathomless ou Crónica, son travail est aujourd’hui défendu par Aposiopèse qui a fait d’An Incomplete Yet Fixed Idea un vinyle tiré à 300 exemplaires. Sur la première face, une suite de parasites (grésillant, sifflant, grinçants) nourrira une horde d’oiseaux de mer sur lequel s’abattra – c’est un collage – une pluie capable de déformer le pavé qu’elle bat. Alerté, on devine chez Sprod un certain goût pour les chutes et un autre pour les coups donnés en douce.
Ceux que l’on trouvera en seconde face sont plus discrets, qui semblent déclencher des enregistrements d’explorations d’autres terrains encore : des tubes de plastique dur y font écho au remuage, de pauvres éléments de décor que l’on traîne rugissent, une faune insaisissable menace dans l’ombre… Au-delà de l’abstraction accidentée, c’est le savoir-faire qui interroge à tel point qu’on reconnaîtra que les instruments de récupération de Tarab valent bien la nouvelle lutherie d’autres musiciens inquiets de sonorités rares. [gb]

Le son du grisli #3 [REVUE] — Lenka Lente

Tarab - An Incomplete Fixed Idea [Aposiopese 013 Promo]
Incoming from the experimental-focused Aposiopese-imprint is "An Incomplete yet Fixed Idea", the latest album effort created by the Australian composer Tarab, better known to his friends and parents as Eamon Sprod. Released as a limited to 300 copies 180g vinyl edition in mid-May, 2k17 the album is split in two parts of approx. 20 minutes length, exploring a musical range from static Noize to re-arranged, warped and processed birds tweeting, eerie dronings from what seem to be modular sources, everyday Field Recordings to industrial grinding and scraping, fluttering winds, rain, eerie low frequency bass sequences indicating lurking danger, clanging metal, electrostatics and much more, presenting an array of collected sonic events arranged in a seemingly non-linear, yet fascinating matter for all lovers of highly experimental music and, of course, Musique Concrete. If you think you've heard it all mark June 16th, 2k17 in your calendar as this is the date this album piece is about to be released. Check!