Michael Trommer :: HTO (3LEAVES)

Toronto’s waterfront is extensive and varied and has undergone profound change, some of which has impacted this liminal region positively, some not so much. Michael Trommer has recorded all along the city’s waterfront, its parkland and buried rivers, old depots and condo gentrification, and its vast amounts of landfill…

Michael Trommer 'HTO'

Michael Trommer ‘HTO’

[Releases page] There is a memorable passage in Michael Ondaatje’s novel In the Skin of a Lion, set in interwar Toronto, in which the main character attempts to blow up the city’s new water treatment plant, an extravagantly designed temple to the modern machine age that cost dozens of labourers their lives in the building. He plunges into the dirty water of Lake Ontario fit with a scuba tank and enters the giant edifice via its water intake. HTO is like a soundtrack to that weird amphibian scene—sound submerged and carrying through water and then emerging, as he does, once the iron grate is breached, into the shock of the air inside and the hum of grand, man-made things. Forced-air ventilation and natural air along the lakeshore contrast, as do feelings of buoyancy and restriction, freedom and claustrophobia, brute steel and iron against the ever-mutable natural elements.

Toronto’s waterfront is extensive and varied and has undergone profound change, some of which has impacted this liminal region positively, some not so much. Michael Trommer has recorded all along the city’s waterfront, its parkland and buried rivers, old depots and condo gentrification, and its vast amounts of landfill—demolished office towers and factories, rubble excavated in the construction of the subway line, deposited there as the city continues to undergo the largest urban expansion in North America. Trommer revisited the same locations in difference seasons over the course of several years to capture changing resonances, and in treating and editing his extended piece has paid particularly close attention to the sounds made as wind and water collide and pass through and over man-made objects and spaces, as an oblique, decentered chronicle.

The simple but exquisite package that Ákos Garai, head of Hungary’s 3Leaves label has designed for HTO significantly ups its archival value.

HTO is available on 3LEAVES. [Releases page]

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