artist: QUIET AMERICAN
title: Plumbing And Irrigation Of South Asia
catalog number: and/7
release year: 2003
status: sold out
This long awaited full length field recording release by Aaron Ximm (aka: Quiet
American) explores the fascinating sound world of South Asia's water systems, from
gurgling cisterns and water-powered grain grinders to water pumps and various
plumbing resonances. Recordings were made in Burma, Nepal, Vietnam, India,
Laos, Bangladesh, and China. Packaged in a DVD case and comes with track
note narratives by Aaron Ximm and an essay by Claude Willey.
Packaged in a DVD case.
EAR / RATIONAL (APRIL 2004)
Now, this is a great use of field recordings. A hollow sound, a very long pipe makes
for excellent reverberations and a very complicated sound, eternally fascinating.
Another track has water dripping on a thin piece of metal stretched tight.
Wonderful pings and echoes down the metal. Kids are playing in the background.
An exotic bird track grows even more intense, an engine, or is it a full bore rain
storm? You can't tell by the variances. The rolling piece of wood is the give-away.
Other pieces are just as engaging - a large machine that ends up sounding like
the biggest coffee pot brewing, or a side of the road water diverter with trucks
driving by from far in the distance... feel the Doppler effect! (Don Poe)
ABSURD - ABSURDITIES #9 (DECEMBER 2003)
Aaron Ximm (aka Quiet American) is a "phonographer" (let's use this term) who's
been a lot into the field recordings thing. Unfortunately, I haven't downloaded
from his great site the various MP3s he has around, so my first encounter was the
Stelzer/Talbot - Quiet American split 3" CDR which I truly enjoyed. Thanks to
Dale, I had the chance to get a better idea of his work as Dale recently issued his
(first, if I am not mistaken) full CDR Plumbing And Irrigation Of South Asia
featuring 22 pieces recorded between 98-01 all over Asia (China, Nepal, India,
Bangladesh, Vietnam, etc. Gotta admit that by the time I heard the
aforementioned split 3" CDR, accidentally it was the time that "The Quiet
American" movie was playing, so I went to see it, and frankly I liked it, needless to
say, that upon seeing the film, there striked in my mind a flash that I had Graham
Greene's s/t book lying somewhere in the house, purchased some 15 more or less
years ago for practice reasons and thanks to Aaron (I guess), I found it rotting
somewhere in my basements library (though I still haven't found the proper time to
start re-reading it). But I am beating a lot about the bush, well, over here I don't
know if Aaron's on Pyle's role or the "narrator's" but certainly it is a pleasant
surprise to see that still there are phonographers (uh, say "artists" or whatever) who
evoke questions out of their soundscapes. Aaron has included a very interesting
text around the use of water and the future of water supplies in Asia, including, of
course, references to the West and East, and the way the two deal w/ the problem.
The vast majority of the recordings themselves too deal with this certain problem.
Frankly, being in a country that this problem is also discussed (but our state sleeps
in its beauty sleep and gives no f**k 'bout that), I found it a really exciting moment
both listening and reading. I assume that for being his first full CDR release, Aaron
crafted a truly stunning experience, providing food for both the mind & ear/soul.
Besides, I always considered as essentials, releases which work as "audio books",
how about you? (Nicolas Malevitsis)
THE WIRE (OCTOBER 2003)
While traveling in Vietnam some years ago, California field recordist Aaron Ximm,
had Graham Greene's novel thrust upon him by a street vendor. Ximm bought the
book and was so taken by its complex investigation of the follies of American
foreign policy in 1950s Vietnam, that he subsequently took Greene's title as a
moniker for Plumbing And Irrigation Of South Asia. His extraordinarily detailed
Vietnamese sound pictures are positively charming, even as his political
intentions are not so immediately obvious. Deep cisterns rumble beneath a crude
steel covering; a leaky pipe spits with a serpentine hiss; Vietnamese voices carry
on their daily conversations at the village water pump; you even get to hear Ximm
splashing in the sink of a Vietnamese hotel. But all these watery details are worked
into a narrative of the environmental problems arising from Vietnam's regional
water use policy. (Jim Haynes)