- Nathan Yoder
Recommended Listening: Lucia Nimcová & Sholto Dobie - DILO
Maybe it's the history teacher in me, but over the past year I have become increasingly interested in various types of folk music. To me, listening to ethnographic recordings feels similar to walking slowly through a museum, reading the placards and imagining the stories behind the work. Often, these folk albums spark curiosity - they are a beginning point, really, and once the final track closes, research begins. This intersection of music appreciation + self-education is something I find myself seeking out more and more.
It's difficult to put into words what DILO sounds like in reference to anything else, honestly, so instead, I'll offer a short synopsis describing the collaboration between filmmaker Lucia Nimcová and sound artist Sholto Dobie. Before I get into it, however, be aware that Claire Sawers composed some very detailed liner notes which are included in the Bandcamp link at the bottom of this write-up. This is a "recommended listening" post, sure, but Sawers' words are absolutely "recommended reading."
In essence, DILO is 40-minute sound document providing a glimpse into the Rusyn (Ruthenian) community, which Lucia Nimcová is a part of. This ethnic minority is spread across the borderlands of what are now Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Ukraine and Poland, and their language is often affiliated with poverty or lack of education by ethnic majorities. Because of this, khroniky - Ukrainian folk songs, have not been very thoroughly documented. Plus, though the lyrical content of khoniky varies, the songs are often seen as crude by outsiders. Some center on sexual themes, dark violence, or suggest political criticism.
DILO includes examples of these Ukranian folk songs and more. The four extended tracks feel very patchwork and raw, the artists opting to leave recordings largely unprocessed. You'll hear a number of vocal performances - some solo, but others singers accompanied by hurdy gurdy or violin. These songs are interspersed with candid conversations and environmental wash captured by contact microphones. Metallic pings, animal noises, and crackling fire pops are just a few sounds that Dobie opted to include in the final mix.
Again, this DC recommendation can only go so far in describing DILO, so it's best if you check it out for yourself. The album is to be released fully on Tuesday, June 29th (a week from today) on mappa, and when the time comes, you can find it through this Bandcamp link. Or you can go there now to read Sawers' words (which are much more detailed than these), and to view a beautiful physical purchasing option, shown above. While still here, however, feel free to review a favorite track below.