When you think of the great recording studios, places like Abbey Road and Sun Studio come to mind.
But, to Jonathan Kawchuk, an untouched natural environment is the perfect place to play and record his ethereal, experimental music. He’s scored films in Canada, the United States and Norway, and his album, North, is out through the Paper Bag Records label. A second album is in the works.
In his recent sessions, Kawchuk drove into a “predator corridor” in Kananaskis, then spent hours setting up equipment. Recording sessions would last for maybe 10 minutes at a time. Why? Because ambient man-made sound, like an overhead jet, could threaten the acoustic ecology of the place, not to mention ruin the vibe.
All the work, he insists, is worth it.
“That’s because of the magic that comes when there’s a communion between the music and the environment that inspired it,” says Kawchuk.
Kawchuk is also the Canadian representative to Quiet Parks International, a group that looks to preserve areas that are almost or completely free of any sort of man-made sound. This includes national “parks” with little air traffic, and little or no mechanical noises, such as jetskis on the lake, or trucks on a nearby highway.
To help spread awareness of the initiative, Kawchuk is slated to go to the first recognized “quiet” park — in Ecuador — and record there.
“For me, it will be an amazing experience to document one of the last remaining sonically untouched places on Earth.”