The Terrestrial Sea

by Mark Lyken

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Released by Important Records 2016

“Genuinely breathtaking” - Aesthetica Magazine
“A surrealistic meditation on the way that different environments encroach on each other" - Financial Times
"A stellar, touching release" - Fluid Radio

The Cromarty Firth is an inlet of the North Sea in the Highlands of Scotland. It is an important and protected natural habitat of seabirds and marine mammals, yet it is also an essential berth of the Oil and Tourism industries. Based in a field station ideally located at the Cromarty Lighthouse, Ecologists from the University of Aberdeen study how natural and man-made environmental changes influence the behaviour and populations of the Firth's protected species.

In 2012 Lyken was Artist in residence at the Lighthouse Field Station where he worked alongside the Ecologists and recorded The Terrestrial Sea album. He returned to Cromarty in 2014 to work on a companion film with regular collaborator Emma Dove.

The Terrestrial Sea is the culmination of that work, highlighting the diverse and ever-changing environments that the Ecologists are studying through music and film.

A link to watch the film is contained within the CD packaging.

The Terrestrial Sea is deeply imbued with a sense of place. Whilst sonically evoking the drama and beauty of the land and seascapes of the Cromarty Firth it also explores the tensions that exist surrounding the natural and industrial world. The music combines real world, electronic and processed sounds, creating a sometimes incongruous soundworld of corroded melodies, percussive clangs, drilling platform drones, pile driving booms, intensifying boat noise, local voices, the simulated sounds of weather and the ever-present sea itself.


released December 1, 2016

"Scar History" features the voices of ecologists: Professor Paul Thompson, Barbara Cheney, Line Cordes, Daniel Johnston and Tessa Van Heumen reading “Bright Boom” by Mark Lyken

Recorded on the Black Isle, Scotland during IOTA's "Sublime" Artist Residencies at Aberdeen University Lighthouse Field Station, Cromarty.

Mastered by Jos Smolders at EARLabs Studio, Tilburg, Netherlands.

Supported by Cryptic, IOTA, The University of Aberdeen, Creative Scotland, Highlands and Islands Enterprise and Important Records


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Soft Error Thornhill, UK

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Sound art, field recording, drone,
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