Accidental Wilderness

upcoming release, 43 minutes, 2022, Ryoanji Records


In 2020 I moved to Toronto, a city perched on Lake Ontario. My arrival coincided with the
beginning of the pandemic and I soon discovered that my life was circumscribed by the area I
could reach on my bicycle. I spent lots of time on the waterfront and began collecting sounds.

The coastline of Lake Ontario is forever changing because of climate change and colonial
interventions. Toronto city builders at the beginning of the 20th century treated the lake as a
dumping ground for factories, with devastating effects for wetlands and wildlife. Later, a landfill
was used to extend the city into the lake, today I’m living on land that used to be under water
just a hundred years ago. During another industrial construction boom, builders dumped
mountains of concrete and sand into the lake in order to create a barrier against waves and
rising tides. No one could have expected that in a few years wildlife would take over this
unwanted territory. The Leslie Street Spit became a habitat for local plants, birds and animals.
This phenomenon is known as “accidental wilderness,” similar transformations took place on
atomic test sites.

The city borders look concrete but they are a temporary arrangement, and colonial domination
can be not only stopped but reversed. Borrowed/stolen land one day can be taken back. Will the
city be consumed by the rising water levels or will the lake recede due to droughts? There is no
way to predict the future, but new condo towers and “revitalisation” projects just a few steps
from a colossal body of water seem the result of wishful thinking.

Random City

Radio work, 45 minutes, 2021

Released on Framework Radio on 01.24.2021

What a relief to arrive at last in this new city. Your feet are restless, they take you across bridges
and underneath construction sites, under the river even, where you embrace views that make
you feel like you have ears all over your new body.

This hour-long travelogue grazes across sonic neighborhoods that might resemble Tbilisi,
Batumi, Toronto, Havana, St. Petersburg, Ulyanovsk, Strasbourg, Marseille, Naples, Reggio
Calabria, Lisbon and Barcelona. Or at least, the sound sources, the original copies, were first
heard there.

Most of the recordings were made in 2018-2020 with a Tascam DR-05 recorder and clippy
EM172 omnidirectional microphones.

recordings, mix and photo by Alëna Korolëva
text, voice and additional recordings by Mike Hoolboom

Broadcast on {openradio} as a part of the Pixelache Helsinki Festival 2021 #BURN program

Broadcast as a framework:afield program on
  • london, uk ::: resonance 104.4fm
  • lisbon, pt ::: radio zero
  • utrecht, nl ::: concertzender
  • porto, pt ::: radio manobras
  • hudson valley, us ::: wave farm radio + wgxc 90.7fm
  • tsouth devon, uk ::: soundart radio 102.5fm
  • brighton, uk ::: resonance extra
  • helsinki, fi ::: korppiradio
  • ulm, de ::: radio free 102.6fm
  • brussels, be ::: radio campus 92.1fm
  • santa barbara, us ::: kcsb 91.9fm
  • coimbra, pt ::: rádio universidade de coimbra 109.7fm
  • canela, br ::: rádio contato
  • vancouver, us ::: radio nouspace

Broadcast on KXCI 91.3FM Tucson AZ as a part of Elysian Fields program.

Presented within a framework of the international conference and transdiciplinary festival
Field Sound Recordings: Music, Speech, Landscape
October 5–15, 2021
St. Petersburg Sound Museum
Ground Solyanka Gallery, Moscow

Broadcast on Radiofrenia Glasgow, a festival exploring current trends in sound and transmission arts. 7 February 2022

Shadows of Mtatsminda

Cassette + Digital Album, 40 minutes, 2020,  Szara Reneta label (Bustryk, Poland)


I've lived a nomadic life for years without a place to call home, but I kept coming back to Tbilisi,
Georgia. This city mystified and captivated me and I started to collect its sounds. Coming from a
documentary film/photo background, I wanted to find another way to create a portrait. I used
small, omnidirectional stereo microphones, discreet but not hidden, so in order to make a clear
recording I had to be close to a sound source, to become part of the scene. It was a way to
come to terms with the city, where I never stopped being a stranger, to bridge the distance and
get in contact. The rustling of dry leaves, clothes rubbing in a thick crowd, voices overheard
from a window, a blind man's song in the subway, a stray dog crunching on a bone, echoes of
fireworks. I was curious to find a melody in the sound fragments of everyday life.

Mtatsminda can be translated from Georgian as "Holy Mountain." The downtown of Tbilisi is
situated in the shadow of this mountain, which is often covered in fog.

Released December 4, 2020 on Szara Reneta label (Bustryk, Poland).

Sounds recorded in 2018-2019 in Tbilisi, Georgia.
Field recording-based compositions, photos and cover design by Alëna Korolëva.

Tracks from the album were included in programs and mixes
  • Cashmere Radio as a part of Eastern Daze #31 Szara Reneta label special
  • Polish Radio Kapitał - Tapes Matter: Szara Reneta Field Recordings Mix
  • Framework Radio - framework: afield #741
  • A Closer Listen - Abby Lee Tee’s mix ‘young frogs & golden lakes’
  • CIUT.FM, Toronto - Electric Sense
  • Community Radio Tbilisi / Common Waves as a part of Tbilisi Architecture Biennial, October 2020


CD + Digital Album, 34 minutes, 2020,  LOM label (Bratislava, Slovakia)


Sound compositions based on field recordings I made while traveling in 2018-2019. Sound
sketches from Toronto, Naples, Geneva, Batumi, Dresden, Strasbourg, Marseille and Saint

If I was a birder I would haunt marches and reefs in search of the perfect dawn chorus, but as a
city dweller I'm listening to the secret music of the city: voices of passersby, spectacles and
meeting points, close-ups and crowd scenes. How to join the crowd again without the fear of

"Agora" is a Greek word that literally means "gathering place" or "assembly". The agora was a
central public space in ancient Greek city-states.

Sounds and compositions by Alëna Korolëva Recorded in 2018-2019, composed in summer
2020Released November 11, 2020 on LOM label (Bratislava, Slovakia).

Tracks from the album were included in programs of
Framework Radio - framework #725
CIUT.FM, Toronto - Electric Sense

Air Show

field recording track

Labour Day weekend in Toronto is traditionally celebrated with an air show. Many gather on the shore of Lake Ontario to watch it, while others leave the city, or close their windows and begin the long wait until it's over. Piercing sounds of military jets silence everything in the city for a few days (numerous rehearsals create a prelude for the show). A small cricket hiding from the crowds of onlookers in the corner of an unused pavilion keeps sending his signals, falling out of rhythm and finding it again, despite the deafening human thunder which cuts through the air. It's the most terrifying sound I've ever heard. Military jets cut the skies in an attempt to show powerand dominance with sounds of war and terror, which for some reason are celebrated with pride.

Winner of the Sound of the Year Awards 2021 in the category of "Most Unpleasant Sound" www.soundoftheyearawards.com/2021

Whispering Ice

field recording track

Lockdown in Toronto changed the soundscape of the city only a little bit. While it was suddenly possible to hear micro sounds like whispering ice and quivering leaves, the downtown airport never stopped working, silencing everything with the roar of airplanes. The sound of melting ice on Lake Ontario in the coldest month of the year reminded me that we are running out of time.

Broadcast as a part of BEAST FEaST 2021: Sonic Dispatches, programme by Birmingham ElectroAcoustic Sound Theatre

Broadcast on November 12th, 2021 as a part of As If Radio program, a collaborative radio space created in response to the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow.

Part of CENSE collective mix, broadcast on December 28, 2021 on Radio Punctum, Prague, Czech Republic

Old Tram's Song (Tatra T3)
field recording based composition

I was born in Ulyanovsk, a Russian city situated on the Volga river, about 700km east from Moscow. I commuted to school every day on a streetcar, model Tatra T3. These cars were made in Czechoslovakia in the 1970s, and some were still running in 2019 when I visited my hometown. I took a nostalgic ride through the city on an old, dilapidated Tatra T3 and was captivated by the groaning, screeching machine. The city has already started to replace its streetcars so this 
might be my last ride on this ancient beloved. Hoping to preserve a sweet memory I made some recordings on a sunny September afternoon.

Broadcast on CIUT.FM, Toronto in Electric Sense program.