*LIMITED CLEAR VINYL*
It was the discovery in Australia of a 1932 photograph of Curgenven’s grandfather - whose grandfather in turn had emigrated from Cornwall to Australia back in the 1800s - which was the inspiration that brought SIRÈNE together. Five generations after that first migration across the ocean, Robert Curgenven had been the first of his line to return to the Atlantic peninsula after many years in central and northern Australia.
In Cornwall, living amongst the familiar climes of wild country, he’d returned also to his first instrument, the pipe organ, where his ideas about composition, pursued since his earliest pieces made over three decades before, were consolidated though hours of recordings in centuries-old Cornish churches to become the selection of works etched on SIRÈNE.
In part a companion piece prefacing a visceral forthcoming album (RFE_02) about settler colonialism, SIRÈNE proves just as visceral in its own right. As with the Turner painting, “Snow Storm – Steam Boat off a Harbour’s Mouth”, that adorns the back cover and whose story is at the heart of an eponymous track which bodily charts this myth of biography, SIRÈNE sends listeners across roiling oceans billowing humid air, beneath plunging coastlines. Amid this elemental immersion, Curgenven asks what is it to belong to a land, or even to this ever-changing country? Cornwall has been home to thousands of years of tin mining, with a tin trade dating back beyond the Bronze Age and the Phoenicians.
With a colonial history of its own, empires around and within it have come and gone like its rugged granite cliffs, which once stood miles away in the days of Cornubia. Like that coast, the citizenry has remained in a slow process of transformation - waves of imperialism wash over and across Cornwall, as they did on Caliban’s horizon in his own Tempest. SIRÈNE is not a kind of nostalgia or looking back nor a looking forward into an imagined future, but instead it views time, lineage, nationhood as a process and a continuum of change.
“Curgenven really excels as he charms easily with a selection of expertly-treated pipe organ recordings. It’s not easy listening as you can probably imagine, but hearing the familiar spiritual throb of the organ anchors the recordings in the real world and allows Curgenven to experiment without fear of losing our interest… his most definitive work to date… astounding” – John Twells, FACT magazine '
’’SIRÈNE’ is BREATHTAKING! An artist whose work continues to overwhelm.” - Richard Chartier, LINE
1: Ressuscitant de l'étreinte de la Sirène
1: Turner‘s Tempest
2: Imperial Horizon (for Caliban)