Wednesday, February 3, 2021

NEMETON (Place Prints/New Perspectives)*****


By Emma


Available until: Unknown

This is amazing! It’s the story of a walk in Cornwall, following a path, past trees and bushes. It sounds quite boring when I say it like that but it isn’t boring at all.

It’s different from the others, it doesn’t have the creepy, supernatural feel but it’s so powerful. I closed my eyes for this and maybe you should too. David Rudkin has written this so clearly and so well, it felt like I could see everything that was described. It was an unbelievable experience, the voice says what you see and you kind of see it but then you hear more details and whatever you were imagining kind of twists and changes in your head till it really looks like what is being described. It’s told in the second person (which can be really annoying in books but it works with something like this) so you literally are being told what you can see.

As you listen there’s the sound of birdsong which really sets the scene, it really felt like I was going for a walk in the sunshine. It was lovely, it seems so long since I’ve done that. Though this would be a really nice place to go in lockdown if we were allowed to travel that far, there are no other people at all. (I do like people but sometimes you do get involved in a bit of an awkward dance, trying to social distance from everyone at once, including some people who obviously don’t care they could be spreading fatal germs.)

Listening to this was a bit like meditating actually. The ones where they tell you you’re on the beach or in the forest. The story is really interesting but it’s kind of relaxing at the same time. There isn’t much suspense or drama, but you really want to know what happens next.

Just thinking about the work that director Jack McNamara and sound designer Adam McCready must have put into creating this is amazing. It seems so simple at first, Michael Pennington’s voice with the birdsong soundtrack. But it isn’t just a random soundtrack because every so often, the voice tells you what you can hear and then you really can hear it. Finding the right soundtrack and then working out how to time it so the sounds and the voice were synchronised, I can’t even imagine how it was done.

Michael Pennington has the most amazing voice. It’s really intense. It’s quite gentle but at the same time it kind of demands that you listen to him. A lot of the descriptions are quite similar, there’s only a limited number of trees and bushes you’re likely to see on a walk in this part of Cornwall, but he makes everything sound new and exciting and different from last time.

This is brilliant, the whole series is but this might be the best because it comes from a really simple idea.

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