Simon presents to us high-quality, detailed recorded audio-documents of a natural disaster.

Simon Šerc – Bora Scura [Pharmafabrik/Sonospace – 2018]

Simon Šerc is a Slovene audio/ video artist, sound engineer, & owner of the Pharmafabrik label -he started his creative activity in the early nineties. And he is involved with a few other projects, such example Cadlag, PureH, Matrix441.

Bora Scura is a field record based release- utilizing recordings made in Slovenia, in the Vipava Valley, near the town called Ajdovšèina. This area is known for its very strong winds- where gusts can reach up to 200 km per hour. These winds, of course, are a terrible force, & destructions is inevitable, with great damage been done to agriculture… This wind is called Bora.

The album was digitally released on the Spanish label Sonospace. But also, Simon released this album as a CD on his label Pharmafabrik. Both versions are available for ordering on either the labels websites or Bandcamp pages.

The fittingly atmospheric cover is executed in black and white. We have a photo of a tree torn up by the storm, standing in a windy rainy veil. Near the tree is a wet dirt road, on the roadside is a bent road sign. The photo was taken through the wet glass. On the left is a black handwritten inscription with the name of the album – Bora Scura. A little lower – Simon’s name, executed in a simple font of dark grey color.

As mentioned early – the album is made up of field recordings, which makes it difficult to describe in detail. The release has a total runtime of 73 minutes, consisting of ten tracks with the names from “Action I” to “Action X”. But the separation of tracks is more conditional but logical. Each track refers to a certain location, but the album is presented as one flowing whole, so there are no obvious breaks between tracks. Simon presents to us high-quality, detailed recorded audio-documents of a natural disaster. At the beginning of the album, against the background of a growing wind, we hear the sound of a car and church ringing. As if the last residents leave this place or try to hide from the rampant nature.

The recordings here are captured both inside & outside, so for the outside recordings, we get the sound of wind, gusts, rustling and creaking branches, the sound of rain, the creaking of the roofs of houses or even some other structures. The recording made inside seemed to me the most interesting. There is more detail & depth to them. We can hear the vibration of the glass in the windows, the creak of the floor, the wind whistling, erupting through the cracks, and disturbing sound of water drops falling from the ceiling. Sometimes there are sounds that I would call close to industrial – metal clang, the vibration of springs and so on. The recordings made outdoors sometimes create the sense of unreality and apocalyptic as if you were in another dimension or on another planet. And the Interior recording brings to mind the horror films.

While listening, I noticed that the sound intensity of the album gradually decreases towards the end. At the beginning of the album, we hear the storm, but by the end, Simon focuses our attention on less active interior sounds.
It is difficult to evaluate the work of Simon as an artist; rather it is necessary to evaluate his work as the work of sound-engineer. But throughout the album, there is a clear composition and author’s design. 73 minutes of wild nature will pass unnoticed for the listener, immersing it in a detailed recorded atmosphere of a windy apocalypse.

I’m sure that a lot of work was done while recording the album, which was recorded in February 2015. We can only guess why it was released only now. Perhaps it was just waiting for its hour. Nevertheless, the time has come and I am very glad that I could enjoy this audio work.

Sergey Pakhomov


Categories: Reviews