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Boris Baltschun

Desert Dictionary

Label: Arbitrary

Format: LP

Genre: Experimental

In stock


300 copies limited edition* Desert Dictionary navigates sonic territories oscillating between language and landscape, between notation and noise. Voices responding and contributing to a complementary narrative, connecting personal memories, political considerations and psychological effects of a landscape seemingly empty and quiet. Adjacent, beneath and intertwined a modular synthesizer score based on field notes – a synthesized soundscape appearing as imaginary field recordings, at the same time resembling and unalike the place in question. The twelve contributions presented on the LP were recorded in South Africa over a period of three months in 2020 and 2021. These recordings occurred in various locations in Kimberley, Bloemfontein, Richmond / Northern Cape, Cape Town, Grassy Park, Krugersdorp and Johannesburg. The Desert Dictionary appears in four iterations – a situation as part of Modern Art Projects South Africa’s collection, a radio play (commissioned by Deutschlandfunk Kultur), a book edition (published by MAPSA), and the present LP.

The LP version is based on the radio play and features the voices of Richard John Forbes, Maja Marx, Phala Ookeditse Phala, Victoria Wigzell, Tubatsi Mpochmoloi, Liza Grobler, Nkosinathi Gumede, Karlien van Rooyen, Mongezi Ncombo, Ivan Messelaar, Gerhard Marx and Lindiwe Matshikiza.

The synthesized field recordings – translations of fieldnotes taken in the desert – were recorded in Johannesburg and Berlin.

Cat. number: arbitrary16
Year: 2023

Written and produced by Boris Baltschun, 2021-2022. Mastered and cut by Kassian Troyer at D&M, Berlin. Photo & map by Boris Baltschun. Graphic design by Joe Gilmore.