Sound Waves is a project by Cities and Memory that forms part of World Listening Day 2015. It will celebrate and build on this year’s World Listening Day theme of water by presenting a collective reimagining of the sounds of water around the world and the role it plays in our lives.
My submitted field recording captures the sound of a leaking water pipe steadily dripping onto a redundant plastic container near our house. Interestingly the container very subtly amplified the sound of the water so it was slightly louder than expected whilst recording. It was recorded early in the morning so listeners will may also hear a continuous alarm clock beeping, nearby traffic and chatter from neighbours.
For the reimagined version a more unusual and hardware-based approach was taken. The original field recording was first transferred onto a compact audio cassette and samples of water were collected from the leaking pipe. In my studio the collected water was carefully dripped (the the aid of a pipette) directly onto the exposed circuit of a battery powered cassette player running the recording. The water droplets created new and momentary connections on the circuit causing the player to produce bursts of erratic noise and alterations in the playing speed. A delay pedal was utilised at various points primarily to enhance and play with the sonic textures of the water sound. Not only was the sound of water recorded but my intention was to use it as an instruments or sorts when reimagining the original field recording.
Cities and Memory will use the reimagined version and other contributions from artists and edit them into one longer, mixed sound piece incorporating many of the sounds in a new context. Both tracks are also featured on a special Sound Waves sound map.
For further information on this exciting project visit: http://citiesandmemory.com/soundwaves/
Check out the Sound Map: http://citiesandmemory.com/sound-map/
Here is a very special release on Quagga Curious Sounds – ‘The Crank’ – an electrically-recorded two minute wax cylinder with a running speed of 160 RPM that is suitable for playback on a majority of clockwork cylinder phonographs.
It’s named after a contraption that was often utilised as a form of hard labour within Victorian prisons. The device most commonly features a large drum containing four paddles connected to a handle that an inmate would have to turn thousands of times a day. Its only purpose was to exhaust and punish.
This one-off wax cylinder features a recording of a crank slowing being turned at Norwich Castle Museum & Art Gallery (I work here and it’s often featured on dungeon/prison tours). The recording is a succession of unsettling creaks, groans and scraps the device makes whilst in use, evoking the torment and monotony inmates had to endure.
The wax cylinder and crank both date from the 19th century and are now very much obsolete technology; the sound source as well as the method of sound reproduction compliment each other rather nicely.
Three 6 x 4” black and white photographs accompany the cylinder depicting the crank itself and display panel featuring an inmate using the device. All information is rubber-stamped onto a 2.5″ x 1.5″ piece of pale yellow. Only one copy was made and unfortunately it’s not for sale, however you can listen to the digital recording below…
Come see me perform at floppy disk inspired noise set as part of Floppy Totaal at WORM!
Rose Thorn Bird Song a new audio work will be featured in Kinokophonography Night at the British Library on Wednesday 27th May from 6pm! Kinokophonography is a curated sound cinema event that features audio works from around the world.
For Further information and to book tickets (which are free but limited!) click on the link below:
As part of [Live] Art Club on the 14th May at the Norwich Arts Centre I’ll be performing a brief DJ set with two hand cranked pizza box turntables (each with three pick up cones and needles!), cheese graters, hole punchers and helium balloons! Super lo fi noisy fun guaranteed…
Catch this performance in the bar at 11.15pm.
For further information on this and other great events at the Arts Centre:
Jerry Kranitz of Aural Innovations has published a fantastic in-depth review article on microcassette audio artworks by Hal McGee which includes our collaboration “Acrostics Meet”.
Brilliantly written and a damn good read too, enjoy!: