Settlers, the latest release from sound artist & researcher Sergey Kostyrko, explores the social landscape of Murmansk – the largest settlement above the Arctic circle. Side A, Murmansk Soundscape, provides an uninterrupted window onto the city at work, a field recording cherry picked from extensive research trips around the area. Meanwhile, Sounds of Migration on Side B presents a curiously dynamic noise composition – curious because it’s an automated sonification: one unedited take of a modular synthesiser communicating with a data model.
The data voiced narrates a city and a region in flux, and in decline: the Murmansk population having dropped from almost half a million in 1989 to 300,000 in 2020, with a resulting deterioration of conditions for those left behind. These data flows are turned into sound by a custom interface interacting with the model and a modular synthesiser, all in real time: a deft noise composition and visceral expression of the city’s sparking complexity. Side A, Murmansk Soundscape, completes a complex portrait
of the region, by immersing the listener there. The distinctive sonic landscape is marked by the sounds of trains, ships, harbour cranes and howling wind: a soundscape capturing the beating infrastructural heart of a city still buzzing with insistent activity, even as it slowly drains away.