Episode 44: "To a Cloud" by Unheard Sound Collective's MP Hopkins
Saskatchewan regularly earns its reputation as the Land of Living Skies. In a sea of wheat marked only by a strip of highway, the constantly changing cloud formations are sometimes the only discernible feature in a minimal landscape. All alone on a road in the middle of nowhere, you’re not talking to yourself if you talk to the clouds.
As Hopkins notes about the album:
Employing a mixed bag of source material and a half drafted vocal approach, these 11 tracks explore the notion of ‘contact calls’, which are irregular, non–specific sounds many social animals make to maintain contact within a group. The group in this instance includes more than just other members; an expanded cast of objects, figures, nature, and works of art act as the recipients of these calls. There is some sort of dialogue between myself as the caller, and this conglomerate of recipients, but it is not normal talking. I’m not asking questions, responding to requests, or reacting through sound in any way – just simply keeping in contact.
Hopkins’ vocal improvisations are whispered, hesitant and faltering. Recorded almost uncomfortably close, there is an immediate character to the work that is inescapable. These sounds are punctuated by a single distant piano note, complicating our reading of the space where this conversation is occurring.