Review: Kate Carr – I Ended Out Moving To Brixton

As obvious as it sounds, I am struck by the fact that Kate Carr exists within her music. I hear the boundary between her edges and the space around her; a phantom emptiness in the centre of the stereo frame that traces the outline of her head. After all, to listen is also to occupy. It’s not just a sensation in the abstract, but the process of dwelling within ­­– and thus, impacting directly – the very place one is listening to. In London, it’s possible to be an active participant through sheer stillness alone. To stand stationary on a busy street in Brixton is to be an obstruction. Amidst the recordings of passing sirens, food market sellers (“beetroot and butterbean hummus sandwich on a nice sourdough bread…”), overhead fireworks, conversations on the street and voices spilling out of interiors, Carr inserts slithers of static and plops of percussion, which press against the edges of the noise of Brixton, just as the noise of Brixton presses back. They actively shape eachother. They are the frictions and impacts of the observer upon the space that rushes past them; the recalibration of listener identity to accommodate a soundscape that never stops.

And then there are those streaks of electronics, like the wispy, unravelled cotton clouds of summer; or the cycle of thoughts on how to intimately understand a place without irreparably changing it. Soft chords quiver gently. These contemplations on history and culture appear momentarily, melting into the muffled thump of music played on a boombox in the street, caught upon the winds that rush through the alleyways between shops, humming up through the engine of a passing motorbike. The traces of musicality on I Ended Out Moving To Brixton are fascinating, whether they exist within the diegesis of Brixton itself (i.e. the spillage of stereo systems blasting out across the street) or outside of it (the instruments added by Carr after the fact). As a regular visitor of London, I’m familiar with the sensation of flitting between stimuli. It can be difficult for deep contemplation to take root. As Carr drifts between sketches of shoegaze ballad, or the smothered thumps of subterranean techno, or the hydraulic punches of bedroom-borne industrial music, I hear a mind bristling with the sense that there is so much more to understand, that these sounds are all threads that lead back to one, overarching narrative around what Brixton used to be, and what Brixton has come to be. Yet these threads hurtle past at such a pace, and it’s impossible to grab hold of just one. Beautifully done.