SCANNER – The Great Crater

Exploring glacial landscapes in sound…

Crafting sound into an almost physical presence is quite a feat. But with The Great Crater, Robin Rimbaud aka Scanner has managed to compose a piece of work that swerves from awe-inspiring aural soundscapes through to oddly unsettling reveries.

The Great Crater is a work that had been commissioned by independent label Glacial Movements, inspired by the strange stories of odd circles appearing in Antarctica.

Initially thought to be an impact crater from a meteorite, ground surveys revealed a 2km diameter depression with vertical shafts in the middle. Drilling into the ice, scientists discovered lakes beneath the surface showing evidence of a ‘hot spot’ or melting ice. Researchers suspect that although the formation was triggered by natural processes, the effects of global warming were making things worse.

As a result, The Great Crater combines a series of immersive soundscapes that at times bring to mind chilly icy landscapes. At other times, there are booming bass-heavy numbers that call to mind the imposing soundtrack that Jóhann Jóhannsson produced for the film Arrival.

Even the track titles seem to tell their own stories, with ‘Katabatic Wind’, ‘Exposure, Collapse’ and ‘Underwater Lake’ conjuring their own narratives outside of the music.

Over the years, Robin Rimbaud has charted an intriguing exploration into the world of experimental electronic music. Albums such as Mass Observation and The Garden Is Full Of Metal drew critical acclaim, while Rimbaud has also collaborated with a broad spectrum of artists. This includes projects with Bryan Ferry, Laurie Anderson and Michael Nyman. He also presented an audiovisual show titled Live_Transmission: Joy Division Reworked, a collaboration with Heritage Orchestra.

Scanner presented one of the standout moments at the 22rpm event earlier this year. It provided an opportunity for Rimbaud to showcase The Great Crater, where the work was augmented with striking visual projections of bleak landscapes and floating clouds.

Listening to The Great Crater is like being exposed to the sounds of an alien world. The tonal shifts and brooding unease broken up with more fragile, airy compositions. The end result is less listening to a body of work and more being immersed into a physical experience.

The Great Crater is out now on Glacial Movements.