Museum Tape Loop #4
The sound source for the fourth residency tape loop was the swaying and clinking of rusty chains mounted onto the lower dungeon walls of the museum. Not a particularly pleasant source for this one minute and fifty second loop; however the resulting sound was fairly rhythmic with an almost meditative quality. Many visitors commented it reminded them of glass bottles gently clinking together, or metal wind chimes; so they were all the more surprised to discover what were actually recorded!
Numerous guide rollers mounted onto cardboard were utilised creating an intricate and compact loop.
Ball and Chain / Squeaky Floorboards and Electromagnetic Field Box
Ball and Chain / Squeaky Floorboards is a bespoke 8” x 8” transparent multi-holed lathe cut (hand cut) record crafted exclusively for the residency. This unique record-object features several centre holes and two one minute audio tracks intersecting over each other. Micro-grooves were cut in real time directly onto the surface of clear polycarbonate plastic using a record lathe spinning at 33 ⅓ RPM.
Both tracks depict a distinctive and interesting sound captured inside the museum; a sound that perhaps is accidental or ignored. Track one is the ominous sound of a heavy ball and chain being dragged across the cobbled stone floor of the lower dungeons; visitors commented this had a heavy and oppressive quality. Track two is a squeaking floorboard located on the balcony level of the Castle Keep; visitors felt this had a lighter quality in comparison to track one but was much more grating to the ears! A cassette version was available for visitors to play at their own leisure.
The popular Electromagnetic Field Box always surprises visitors (and sometimes a little shocked to discover) just how much hidden sounds are being emitted from their device. One interesting discovery was an iPhone tended to be much quieter than other Smartphone such as Samsung or Nokia models. A brief audio track was recorded of me using the zoom function and taking several photos on my Samsung Galaxy digital camera.
The Springrack is a self-built instrument crafted almost entirely from discarded or readily available items, this includes: a metal cooling rack, coil springs, plastic comb, metal brush and scrap wood. A single piezo disk contact microphone attached to the instrument amplifies the otherwise inaudible vibrations from these materials. This experimental electroacoustic percussion instrument was constructed in 2012; it’s been adapted frequently since then.
Visitors were invited to explore its sound making properties using the violin bows and glockenspiel mallets or simply just pluck the springs and comb with their fingers. As you can see from the photographs many visitors and staff really enjoyed interacting with this instrument! Several commented bowing the larger springs produced a particularly rich yet eerie sound.