This incredible audio excavation is the work of Howlround, a sextet comprising four machines and two masters of sonic séance. The Spanish House, a ruined customs building on the banks of the river Sava in Belgrade became the site of a beautiful and eerie divination of lost activity and evacuated space; the degraded structure was coaxed into life; noise memories conjured with the manipulation of its frame; shouts and chants echoing around its walls; structural supports rung like sick dulcimers; passing freight trains causing weird bouncing laser-burst effects; voices crying out wordlessly.
No additional sounds were created other than those possible within the house and its surroundings, manifested by the people wandering with Howlround through its damp corridors. The captured sonic ghosts were fed into tapes and looped, chopped and interrogated; the house mined for sound; its noise feeling lost and vapour-thin, intangible but insistent, its presence vague and difficult to substantiate, like an architectural EVP, a building slowly wrenched of its secrets. The music resulting from these explorations is utterly burying in effect, completely mesmerising; like ‘Sings Reign Rebuilder’ by Set Fire to Flames with the instruments removed, the creaking floorboards all that remains.
‘Secret Songs of Savalama’ is a masterpiece, unforgettable and hauntingly beautiful; a record that shivers and drips with shadows and mystery. An incomprehensible question was asked of the Spanish House, this trio of secret songs is its unfathomable response.