Tag Archive: Mark Walters


Savaran brings together a collection of ten new tracks recorded between 2012 – 2014 for the album The Spaces In Between. This is his first full album release on the Ember Music label although previous tracks have been included on the compilation Ember Music Vol.1, on Ember Music mixcasts and in collaborative works with other Ember Music artists including Slaphappy Mortician and TraiSkin.

The album has dual layers of meaning that intertwine. On the one hand this is a personal interpretation of daily interactions with sounds heard and unheard that are fused with processed digital, analog and modular electronics. On the other hand the music reflects the artists emotional response to unfolding events taking place worldwide as a result of the 2008 recession, the rise of religious fundamentalism, the dramatic effects of climate change and the disconnection of humans from nature. Sound and emotion both combine on this album at the spaces in between.

Cover photography by: Mark Walters

All tracks produced, mixed and mastered by: Mark Walters

Acknowledgements: Luftrum for field recorded sounds on Glade, Kurt Lorenz at Ember Music

Ember Music – EMBRlp007

Released 01 September 2014

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A Comet’s Tale originated from early discussions with Emily Ferrell about a release with the Subterranean Tide label. I had mentioned that I always wanted to do a release based around my interests in astronomy and a day later Emily came back with the evocative poem that graces the cover art. That poem directly triggered the idea of following the path of a comet from its origins in the distant Oort Cloud of our outer solar system, to it’s perilous journey past our Sun and return home, if it survives!

A comet is basically a large boulder-like mass of ice, gas and dust, which closely resembles the smaller rocky asteroids in form. Very slight gravitational forces from nearby stars, including the Sun, can pull these objects out of their normal orbit and onto a new path which sends them careering into our solar system. The Oort Cloud is the most distant home of comets and forms a sort of spherical shell of objects orbiting our solar system way out beyond Neptune. The musical journey follows a typical long-period comet (a comet that takes more than 200 years to complete it’s orbit), which has been dislodged from the Oort Cloud and is on an incoming trajectory around our Sun. Aphelion is when our comet is at it’s furthest point from the Sun, coasting in through the outer solar system, it’s dust tail streaming majestically behind it and increasing in speed all the time. As it reaches it’s point of closest approach to the Sun, or Perhelion, the speed picks up and the comet faces it’s most dangerous time buffeted by the solar wind and in a constant tug-o-war with the powerful gravitational pull of the Sun. A special group of comets, the Sungrazer’s, are the adrenaline junkies of the comet world and either survive, or die by evaporation, as they skim close to the Suns upper atmosphere. If a comet survives this passage around the Sun and passes close to Earth on it’s way back out to the Oort Cloud it can turn into one of the most spectacular objects seen in the night sky. The sun heats up the comet and triggers the expansion of internal gasses, which explode through the surface. The comet then goes into an outburst phase where it dramatically increases in size and brightness and becomes visible to us with small telescopes, binoculars or the naked eye. One of the common gasses vented is Cyanogen and this can give the comet’s coma (head) and tail a lovely green hue. The dust left behind in the trail of an orbiting comet makes up most of the material we see as meteors flashing through the sky during a meteor shower as the dust burns up in our atmosphere. Many of the main meteor showers can be directly linked to a particular passing comet or asteroid. The comet then passes out of our visible range to return again in a few hundred, or perhaps thousands, of years and is therefore truly a once-in-a-lifetime object to see.

If you get a chance this winter do follow the story of Comet C/2012_S1 (ISON) as it becomes visible from November onward http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C/2012_S1 This is a newly discovered sungrazer comet which has the potential to be one of the most spectacular comets visible this century…if the Sun doesn’t melt it!  Edit 27-12-13 – which it sadly did, Comet ISON is no more 😦     ~Savaran

Cover Image: No Copyright, courtesy of NASA. The cover image is from the ancient Chinese Mawangdui silk which is a ‘textbook’ of cometary forms and the various disasters associated with them. It was compiled sometime around 300 B.C.

Subterrannean Tide ST03. Released July 2013. Savaran: A Comet’s Tale – Download from Archive.org here http://archive.org/details/ST03ACometsTaleSavaran or from Bandcamp here http://subterraneantide.bandcamp.com/album/a-comets-tale

All tracks composed & mixed by Mark Walters
Mastered by Wil Bolton
Artwork & Poetry by Emily Ferrell

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Assembly Field Label AF02. Released April 2013

The Halcyon Days tracks evolved over five months between November 2012 and March 2013. For some reason my most subtle, deep, emotional and dark works always seem to be produced in the suppressed light of Winter. Perhaps the enforced isolation and incarceration in the studio due to the inclement weather figures in this, but I know that I also take a lot of visual and audible cues from the landscape and nature at this time.

The EP essentially describes a number of locations visited during the Winter months in the UK and my response to them in musical form.

Sojourn was born from a visit to the hills and lakes above Betws Y Coed in Snowdonia on a bright November day. On descending back down to the village the acoustics of the valley floor suddenly opened out in a few places and the rocky hillside behind us acted like an amphitheatre sucking in sounds from distant locations. We could clearly hear people talking and the bustle of activity on the playing field combined with distant calls from the whistle of the steam railway – you can hear these sounds, and others, under the ambient guitar melodies. Arra Venton by contrast is an altogether more mysterious piece.

Arra Venton is a Landmark Trust house you can rent near Morvah and Zennor in west Cornwall. It started life as a Wesleyan chapel and blacksmith’s workshop with dwelling above, but has now been carefully and sympathetically restored. It’s granite hewn walls reside next to a forbidding bog topped by blackthorns leaning away from the seaborne wind. There’s an old well in the grounds and the glowering torrs of Carn Galva look down from above. It is a place steeped in history and sense of place with a definite character that is surprisingly welcoming – I love this sort of place. We spent Christmas 2012 here with constant wind and rain battering the sturdy walls. The wind howled in the chimney and swirled around the roof trying to find a way in for most of the time we were there, it was a constant soundtrack to the holiday. I was recording a live improvised track with the Korg Monotron analogue synth late one night and could hear the wind howling through the headphones and mournful drones coming out of the Monotron. It seemed to be competing with the music, trying to be part of it, so I let it in and that is how this track came to be.

I will let the listener conjure up their own stories from the rest of the tracks. Each track does have a story and point of origin in the landscape, but you will have to navigate your own way from now on.

This EP is dedicated to Tess, who is no longer with us, but whose presence during field recording trips, holidays and recording sessions in the studio is very much a part of these tracks..

Written and produced by Mark Walters

Mastered by Wil Bolton

Photography by Mark Walters

Savaran: Halcyon Days EP – Download here – http://archive.org/details/Savaran-HalcyonDays_113

I’ve been working on some field recordings lately for what I have termed my “Safe Havens” project. This explores three nature reserves in quite different landscapes taking in the full width of Wales from the flat Welsh Marches borderland (where I live) in the east to the wide estuary at Ynyslas in the west, passing through a high mountain reserve on the way. The reserves each represent different habitats too. Holly Banks is a restored wetland at the heart of the confluence between the rivers Severn and Vyrnwy.  Gilfach resides on a hill farm in the Marteg Valley and includes hay meadows, rocky outcrops, oak woodland and wet flushes, all bisected by the River Marteg. Ynyslas (part of the wider Dyfi National Nature Reserve) lies at the mouth of the River Dovey estuary and includes coastal sand dunes with nearby inland raised peat bog, saltmarsh and mudflats.  The aim in each case is to capture a broad sonic signature of the landscape in which the reserves reside including not just the wildlife, but all of the periperhal sounds that feed into the reserves audible soundscape. Ultimately I am hoping to release the finished work on one of the dedicated field recording labels in Spring or early summer next year.

Last weekend was a first recce visit to Holly Banks, which is very poorly signposted (in fact there were no signs !), located just beyond the small village of Melverley in Shropshire. The reserve is an attempt to restore the kind of wetland landscape that would have been common in the confluence before drainage, flood defence banks and enclosure carved up the wetland and dried it out in the eighteenth century. The meadows are kept wet in the Spring and Summer by managing the flow on a deep ditch bordering the reserve and then the land is allowed to drain in the winter so that it can soak up floodwater. Large ponds and scrapes have been created across the area.

When you first enter the reserve via a kissing gate off a rough track you are presented with a huge open vista looking across the floodplain to the Breidden and Middletown hills in the far distance. Having soaked up the vista you then become aware of the accompanying depth of sound carrying over miles. On the day of the visit it was sunny with light cloud and a gentle breeze and the acoustic detail was really rich from foreground to background.

I found a good recording location (shown in the photo above) with a pond scrape in the foreground surrounded by bamboo like reeds that rustled gently in the breeze. The pond looked quite active with skaters, beetles, small fish and snails all moving around so I dipped the JrF C-series hydrophone in to capture micro level sounds while the larger macro level soundscape was recorded on my Tascam DR-100 MkII recorder using the internal stereo mics and a windshield. Three recordings were made, one with the hydrophones in the pond, one with the rustling reeds in the foreground and sounds beyond and one capturing the bird activity above in the form of a large group of buzzards wheeling on the air currents. These were all mixed into one track to recreate the full depth of the soundscape I could actually hear.

The complexity of foregound to background sound is fascinating in this track with grasses in the immediate foreground together with passing insects, then the hydrophone ticking and stridulating of water insects in the pond along with occasional bubbles of gas rising to the surface. Beyond that there are a wide variety of bird sounds, farm machinery, dogs barking on farms and right out in the background you have the cracking of shotguns on the Criggion Estate where pheasant shooting season is well under way. In fact I found the juxtaposition of human endeavor to manage the land for nature conservation in the foreground and for shooting birds in the background quite fascinating.

Do pop back to the blog to follow the sonic journey over the coming months as I will be posting up photos and sonic snippets along the way.

The new Savaran CD-EP featuring vocals by Barbara De Dominicis and Francesca Genco is now available and shipping early next week from Somehow Recordings http://www.somehowrecordings.co.uk/page20

This was originally intended to be an instrumental ambient release utilizing my own field recordings and photography to enhance the coastal theme, but I was then introduced to the amazing vocal improvisations of Barbara De Dominicis from Rome in Italy http://www.soonapres.com/  Barbara is a talented sound artist, musician and professional sound recorder with a string of previous album releases on Schema Records (Cabaret Noir, 2004), WM Recordings (Anti-Gone, 2009) and most recently on the Baskaru label with Julia Kent and Davide Lonardi (Parallel 41, 2012 http://www.par4llel.org/ ).  She has collaborated widely with ambient and experimental music artists across the world and I am really happy and grateful that she agreed to do a couple of tracks with me on this five track EP as her vocals add hugely to the texture and atmosphere of Strandline.

The music fuses sampled acoustic instruments, processed electronics and synthesizers mixed with some of my own field recordings made in coastal locations of Scotland and Wales over the last two years. The photography which forms the cover and CD art on this release includes images taken on Harlech Beach, North Wales  and the Dumfries and Galloway coast, Scotland. As ever with my music, it was the environment which informed the musical process that followed, with all cues being taken from visual and audible references in the landscape.

The EP is dedicated to all those people who can see the bigger picture in life by looking billions of years back in time as well as far into the distant future – they are life’s true explorers….

It’s release day for my new EP ‘Resonances’ over at the FeedbackLoop label here http://feedbacklooplabel.blogspot.com/2011/05/fbl014-savaran-resonances.html Do make sure you grab the seperate PDF download too as this provides some detailed background info. on the inspiration behind each track. Hope you like the sounds and all feedback is most welcome. I will leave you with the excellent release notes/review by Michael Waring………

Welsh electroacoustic artist Mark Walters aka Savaran comes to Feedbackloop with a five track EP ‘Resonances’ after a number of netlabel releases over the past year. Utilising both digital and analogue instrumentation with field recordings, samples and an array of effects, Mark develops refined micro-soundscapes, tightly knit into granular textures which demand an attentive ear. In Resonances he marks waypoints in the contours of his own life, describing personal experiences – memories of events and locations – and his own interests in history, astronomy and geology.

Opener ‘The Forest’ is closely grounded in nature, a perpetually moving and shifting piece – being more and more ethereal. ‘Aurora’ cinematically depicts the sound of the lights in the sky created by particles passing through the atmosphere. A granular focus that is present also in the micro movements suggested in ‘Tectonic’. Constructed literally from the vibrations of earthquakes through a custom built digital effect, the track offers a kind of cathartis, made all the more relevant with the recent happenings in Japan. ‘Graaw’ is a childhood place remembered and revisted, illustrated with a careful eye, and representative of Mark’s unique observational style.

In last track ‘Delphic’ we’ve travelled as far from earthly groundings as we can, to otherworldly dimensions set within Greek mythology. Delphi was the seat of the oracle, housed in the temple of Apollo. Inspired by this historic reference – Mark translates these dramatic visuals into an exciting sonic experience.

Resonances is deeply personal, born from historic and personal interest which reveals itself to be emotionally evocative and intriguing for the listener. By allowing us this intimate insight
into these parts of himself, Mark achieves a brilliant expression of his own history, memory and self.

Savaran – Facebook Artist Page http://www.facebook.com/pages/Savaran/119943491371699?v=wall

Savaran – Soundcloud http://soundcloud.com/savaran

Savaran Twitter – http://twitter.com/#!/Savaran_Music