“No Tracks in the Snow” is a collection of tracks from the early days of Drekka’s history; the third offering for Dais Records and an appendix between the second and third parts of the ‘Tarwestraat’ trilogy of LPs for the label.
For over twenty years, Mkl Anderson has curated a vast archive of recorded material for his cinematic ritual ambient industrial project, Drekka. He works with memory not only as a subject but also as a healing process, continually delving into this personal world of sound; examining, revisiting, and repurposing recordings in an attempt to recall a past which sings from the darkness surrounding the tenuous provinces of memory and dreams – the real ghosts of time and sound.
Recorded between 1996 and 2002, the album showcases Drekka’s early exploratory development across a variety of styles. And yet it is also Drekka in the present moment; culled, curated, and assembled with care. Not unlike Borges’ “A Personal Anthology” – or indeed any of Drekka’s own recent work – this recording can be understood as a cohesive narrative more than as a simple compilation.
As Drekka moved from its Bristol UK influenced space folk beginnings, backwards towards Anderson’s earlier UK industrial tape culture foundation, his predilection for reworking pieces over time was emerging; recontextualizing narratives to bring out new truths from one’s own history. This process would become a cornerstone of Anderson’s work for the decades to follow.
The album begins with “Strika” (1998), originally recorded for the lovesliescrushing side project, Vir (a “secret audio army” in which individual performers were not even aware of who the other participants were). The track features one of Anderson’s earliest collaborations with Mark Trecka (of Pillars And Tongues / Dark Dark Dark), who would go on to be one of his longest standing co-conspirators.
“Christmas 1973 or 1974” (1999) is a lament for a childhood which is almost entirely forgotten and a yearning for some tangible, physical proof that this childhood existed at all. The accompanying video for the track utilizes actual home movie footage of Anderson as a very young boy, fulfilling this longing and adding heart rending weight to the song and its lyrics.
“We Who Are Not Lonely” (2000) has become one of the most beloved works in Anderson’s early canon. A gauzy musing on the catharsis of upheaval, the piece was written and recorded initially in the months leading up to Anderson’s relocation from Chicago to Bloomington, Indiana. It is a brooding work which shows Anderson at his most self-possessed as a songwriter and is a confluence of the earliest playing-and-singing take on Drekka and the cinematic world building soundscapes to come.
The album closes with “Tracking shot (wide)” (2000), a brief stream-of-consciousness sound piece dedicated to Andrei Tarkovsky. The track most certainly points in the direction that Drekka would explore extensively over the two decades; the direction which has led Anderson to where he is now firmly positioned.
“No Tracks in the Snow” is an exploration of the threads of continuity which bind the various modes of Anderson’s oeuvre. As he nears completion of the third album in his trilogy of LPs for Dais Records, “No Tracks in the Snow” is an introspective pause and a celebration of a life spent listening to the world around us and its sleeping potential.