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Claustrophonic Hospital MP3

Between its scene-setting title and its tantalizing mix of overheard noise, Richard Crow‘s Imaginary Hospital Radio, at just over 40 minutes in length, serves as a kind of plot-free radio drama. It’s one in which the witness wanders the dim hallways of a municipal hospital, overhearing intimate and coldly executed conversations about numerous maladies. Much of the claustrophobic (claustrophonic?) picaresque occurs in near-silent corridors of the powerless. The sound of routine check-ups is regularly interspersed with the mechanical wheezing of the location’s massive HVAC system (MP3).

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The track is the 52nd in the estimable Touch Radio series, which in the past has dealt primarily with raw, if expertly produced, field recordings, but that has, of late, emphasized the artful treatment of found sounds. This is how the project is described:

Imaginary Hospital Radio mimics and subverts conventional hospital radio and its aim to relieve its listeners/patients through the collaging and dissecting of the visceral and surgical sounds associated with illness and disease. The hospital’s unwanted sounds and noise provide an unexpected artistic source, as a kind of sonic tableau – an invisible operating theatre in which the sonic/audio auscultation/surgery occurs ‘live to ear’.

More on the recording at touchradio.org.uk.

By Marc Weidenbaum

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