Last spring, Glasgow-based visual, sound and installation artist Hanna Tuulikki transformed boarded-up, condemned row-houses in Glasgow’s Duncan Crescent, altering these alienated spaces through the medium of sound and light. Animating the inhospitable interiors with “dream machines” —custom-made magic lanterns one featuring her exquisite, Rackhame-esque silhouettes of flora and fauna— she brought the natural world inside, bringing life and light to forgotten rooms.
The sound aspect of these installations further blurred of boundaries between man-made spaces and the natural world. Taking field recordings of bubbling brooks, wind through tree branches, bird song, and other ambient sounds of the forest, Tuulikki mixed them with her own voice to create a sensual, surround-sound hyper-reality of a woodland environment that might have existed had the city not encroached.
It’s this kind of attention to detail and respect for the natural world that colors Hanna’s work with her group Nalle, who begin their first US tour this Sunday.
Consisting of Hanna and One Ensemble members Aby Vulliamy on viola, accordion, and vocals) and Chris Hladowski on vocals, bouzouki, and clarinet, the group’s insistence on building up sounds in the most gradual, organic way is entrancing. Songs shift and ebb in their own otherworldly time-frame, and the effect is as unique as it is immense. Perhaps immense is the wrong word, because the music is, in some ways, small —it’s detail-oriented, micro as opposed to macro, gentle. Yet it feels ancient, out-of-time, and that makes it powerful in a very fresh way.
Nalle have two full-length CDs available: By Chance Upon Waking from lovely Leicester-based labelPickled Egg, and the brand-new Siren’s Wave [Locust]. If you act fast (I sound like one of those late-night informercials, eek!) you might also be able to grab the super-limited edition (only 100 made)live CD out on Secret Eye micro-label Eye Secretions. (The group might be selling it on tour —I’m not sure.)
It’s also music to be experienced live, so startlingly does the ensemble blend their vocals and unique combination of instruments.
The tour is fairly extensive, bringing the group all over the East coast through the last half of March.
Mar 16 | New Haven, CT: BAR with Eric Carbonara
Mar 17 | Providence, RI: AS220 with Eric Carbonara, Eyes Like Saucers
Mar 18 | Boston, MA: PA’s Lounge with Eric Carbonara
Mar 19 | Portland, ME: TBA
Mar 20 | Northampton, MA: The King St. Manor with Defneq, Viking Moses
Mar 21 | NYC, NY: Knitting Factory with Spectre Folk, Vert
Mar 22 | Philadelphia, PA: Brickbat Books with Eric Carbonara
Mar 23 | Baltimore, MD: Warehouse show with Dan Conrad, Susan Alcorn
Mar 25 | Columbus, OH: Skylab
Mar 26 | Chicago, IL: Empty Bottle with Paul Metzger, The Zoo Wheel
Mar 27 | Cleveland, OH: All Go Signs with Black Forest/Black Sea, Paul Metzger
Mar 28 | Pittsburgh, PA: Secret Eye House with Mike Tamburo, Tradition
Mar 29 | State College, PA: Schlow Library with Black Forest/Black Sea, Evening Fires
Mar 30 | NYC, NY: Glasslands with Begushkin
Mar 31 | Jersey City, NJ: WFMU session
Nalle, “Ravens (from Chance Upon Waking, Pickled Egg, 2006)
ILLUSTRATION BY HANNA TUULIKKI FROM THE NEST INSTALLATION, GLASGOW, MARCH 2007