Manja Ristić - kairos & the dwellers


originally released on forms of minutiae label, May 2021

For its second release, forms of minutiae is pleased to present "kairos & the dwellers", an electroacoustic drone album by field recordist and sound artist Manja Ristić.

Stranded on the island of Korčula (Croatia) since the beginning of the current global health circumstances, Manja Ristić roamed on the isle’s shores in quest of new sonic encounters. She approached the Adriatic wilderness by deploying her tools and processes for attentive listening in pursuit of sparking sensory dialogues with the surrounding biomes. Pine forests, shallow waters, coastal lands, abandoned quarries, and their sets of inhabitants were auscultated through various sonic recording techniques involving hydrophones, contact microphones, and stereo set-ups.

In resonance with French botanist and landscaper Gilles Clément’s concept of Third Landscape (areas whose evolution depends on nature alone and that are thought as ideal places for thriving biodiversities while unimpededly building genetic reservoirs), Ristić’s compositions draw our attention towards the hidden corners and the micro-environments of littoral and traumatised landscapes — former exploited spaces which were eventually abandoned and given back to non-human regenerative powers. Thus, the album takes the ancient, half-sunken, limestone quarries of Korčula as its primary stage and invites us to listen to the minute acoustics of crustaceans, mollusks, swallows, cicadas, creaking trees, wind breezes, lapping waves, and occasional anthropogenic motions while sharing a haunting reflection on underwater noise pollution as submerged sounds of distant boats overtake the delicacy of the bio- and geophony at play. The result is a dronesque, ambient, quasi-continuous piece that plays with psychoacoustic gestures and builds self-generated fantasies that feed our subconscious and emotional plane. But when listening between the lines, "kairos & the dwellers" also unveils, like most of the artist’s work, a political dimension that involves ecological activism and a strong empathy towards the world’s ecosystems and their dwellers.

By combining unprocessed and processed field recordings into electroacoustic narratives, Manja Ristić investigates the historical and ecological richness and fragility of the Korčula island and its encircling sea with the practice of attentive listening as a way of funneling our thoughts towards the comprehension of a landscape’s memory and present state.

Manja Ristić, born in Belgrade in 1979, is a violinist, sound artist, poet, curator and researcher active in the fields of electroacoustic and classical music, instrumental improvisation, and experimental sound art. Her work blends intuitive composition and field recording practices while focusing on interdisciplinary approaches to acousmatic forms, radio art, and acoustic ecology. Manja Ristić currently works and lives on the island of Korčula, Croatia.


The Wire — issue 447 (review) :

"Confined by the pandemic to an island in the Adriatic, Ristić has explored the local environment and channelled her multifaceted creativity into composition of evocative soundscapes. A range of field recordings specific to Korčula, captured through hydrophone as well as microphone, are enfolded within luminous drones, like images suspended within the composer’s perceptual sensitivity. Ristić is an artist who notices and takes on board, acutely attentive. Her active presence and involvement is part of the fabric of these pieces. Ecologically alert, they also convey a sense of individual awareness as a kind of permeable membrane, absorbing elements from the world while also transmitting aspects of the self. These are thought-provoking pieces, which also possess a haunting quality."


Bandcamp Daily (Andra Nikolayi - review) :

"Her latest album, is a poetic sound map of that beloved island and a deeply personal tribute. […] The specificity and diversity of Ristić’s soundbank, coupled with the personal nature of the project, requires a strong attention to detail: not only in terms of the individual recordings themselves, but the ecosystem within which they operate. “I dive into them and I try to hear as much as there is,” she says. [...] For Ristić, field recording is, at its essence, a personal healing practice carried out through sound waves. “When I compose, I really want to regulate myself while doing it, and I’m trying to produce this sensory compound that can be immersive in a good way—that can regulate emotions, or even just the brain frequencies and stuff.” She may not be an expert on brain chemistry, but she does know this: Nature’s minutiae has a lot more gravity than we give it credit for."



A Closer Listen (Richard Allen - review) :

"Ristić is painfully aware that what she records now may not be present later. […] But the artist does more than reflect; her recordings tend toward interdisciplinary splices of field recording and electro-acoustic composition. We hear what is there, plus the impression of what is there and is unfolding there, communicated through a spectrum of sound. […] Ripples and tiny waves ground the listener in a sense of place. But as constant knockings echo underwater, one wonders, if the tiny sounds of buoys can carry so far, what disruptions might larger sounds cause? […] The word kairos means an opportune time for action. The dwellers are many: not only shrimp and swallows, but us. While the dwellers of the forests and seas can only react, we can act ~ and now is the time to protect and preserve. If not, our islands of the industry will become islands of irradiation."


sounds and photographs gathered in korčula (croatia)
between july & december 2020
composed by manja ristić
mastered by mathieu bonnafous
text & design by pablo diserens
forms of minutiae — fom02 — © + ℗ 2021