Everyday noise and its underlying tension, courtesy of Dizzy Banjo
Dizzy Banjo, aka Robert Thomas, has made countless iOS devotees appreciate the musicality, the sonic essence, of everyday noises through apps like RJDJ, as well as prominent developments associated with the film Inception and the last of Christopher Nolan’s Batman movies. In those apps, quotidian noise gets transformed into rhythmic, tonal, often melodic explorations that highlight the musicality of the source material. And then, sometimes, Thomas simply posts unmediated raw recordings of everyday sound to his soundcloud.com/dizzybanjo account, such as the recent “Whining Train Carriage Chassis at Stratford Railway Station (SRA).” That could be the title to a lost Raymond Carver short story. And in a manner it is, in that by focusing on the electric whine of the transit system, Thomas emphasizes the droning anxiety of the commuter’s routine.
Track originally posted for free download at soundcloud.com/dizzybanjo. More from Thomas at dizzybanjo.com and twitter.com/dizzybanjo.
A live performance by Robert Curgenven
The dense, wavering drone that Robert Curgenven committed to tape when performing live in Cornwall at the Exchange back in August 2011 has been made available for free download by the great touchradio.org.uk podcast series. The drone consumes the listening space, but it is not the entire space. There are fragile elements within it, the static of what could be a crackling fire, high notes like a soloist from a robot boy’s choir practicing circular breathing, clusters of organ chords. Those latter elements are the highlight. Curgenven describes the material as “Unprocessed recordings of a 16 foot pipe organ – built 1861, standing in a 13/14th Century rural church in West Penwith, Cornwall.” Among the additional elements are “guitar feedback, unprocessed field recordings, ventilator and microtonal dubplates & turntables.” And the overall density is owed to room tones from “contained and reverberant spaces in the cities of Berlin (2007), Tokyo (2006), Sydney (1999), Milan (2008), Hamburg (2009) and Osaka (2006).” The original performance was an eight-channel set-up at the Exchange, which is in Penzance, Cornwall, as part of an exhibit titled An Urban Silence, which was organized by Blair Todd. This recording (MP3) was made by Martin Clarke, and then mixed and mastered by Curgenven.
Track originally posted for free download at touchradio.org.uk. More from Curgenven at his website, recordedfields.net.
[ Also tagged free, live-performance
Massive undertaking by Warsaw, Poland's Aairria
The Rain netlabel gets true to its name with The Sixth Dreaming, a virtual torrent, file-sharing jokes aside, of audio from the prolific figure Aairria. Working with field recordings of waves — that is waves as in water, not waves as in sonic waveforms — produced by freesound.org contributor digifishmusic, Aairria has produced an enormous track that lasts almost half a day. The MP3 weighs in at 1.5 gigabytes, and the piece, titled “Frolic in brine, goblins be thing,” is just shy of 11 and a half hours long (it is 11:18:25). A sample on the releasing netlabel’s website, rainnetlabel.blogspot.com, includes lush water sounds, though the first chunk of the proper MP3, over at archive.org, is all space-station HVAC drones, at least for the opening half hour. Slowly, water makes itself hear, like it is beginning to seep in and puddle on the craft’s floor. And as if the music were not ominous enough, the title comes from the Ring horror films.
More from Aairria, who is based in Warsaw, Poland, at aairriamusic.blogspot.com, aairria.bandcamp.com, and about.me/aairria.
[ Also tagged free, netlabel
And a great introduction to the Radius broadcast
If you’ve read mention of the great Chicago-based broadcast/podcast Radius here quite often, but haven’t quite cracked its sonic code, given how informedly abstract its audio can get, then a comfortable place to start might be its current edition, number 38. This one is by Gavin Prior. Titled “Babbleon Cork,” it is a 20-plus-minute excursion into the sounds of Cork, Ireland, where Prior wandered about, recording device in hand, and captured the sounds of the city. As the title suggests, these sounds are largely a matter of human speech, thick regional accents making opaque what seems tantalizing in its near-familiarity, at least to a fellow English-speaker. It’s fascinating how a fair amount of dialect and slang can have the transformative impact of a digital audio tool. In addition, Prior employs those very tools, subtle electronic effects, the result of which he likens to a collage, one in which foregrounded noises and looping are engaged to produce something not fantastic or abstract so much as it is hyperreal.
He writes, in part:
“The emotional content of the direct speech is soundtracked and enhanced by the abstract, “instrumental” elements in the collage. The result is a short album which captures the energy of the city mixing layers of abstracted sounds and the fluent, irreverent utterances of the Corkonians themselves.”
Track originally posted for free download at theradius.us. More from Prior at his gavinprior.wordpress.com website and at the record label desertedvillage.com, which he co-founded. The above image is from a set of collages he created, available from his flickr.com account.
[ Also tagged free, voice
Field recording by a fellow traveler of Chris Watson
Into each field recording artist’s portfolio, a little rain must fall. In the case of the latest podcast from the Touch Radio series, the artist in question is R Martin Seddon, who participated in an educational trip to India with Chris Watson, as organized by the Wildeye, an international school of wildlife film-making. Watson is a famed audio ecologist and Touch reecording artist. Sneddon has posted an opportunistic portrait of a nature reserve, captured in the middle of a storm MP3. The detail is spectacular.
As Sneddon describes it, in part:
[W]e settled down to the sound of distant thunder. Our hosts advised that we took shelter before the rain started and soon after the short walk to my hut the first spots were falling. Recording equipment was hurriedly set up under the veranda and my hut-mate and I settled down on deck-chairs. After only a very short wait, with skipper frogs calling from the nearby pond, the rain started. Very soon the only sound was of rain and distant thunder and everyone, even the monitor lizard that lived in the thatch of our roof, stayed put until the storm passed.
Over at his website, at rmartinseddon.co.uk, there is a host of of other audio recordings he has made, all streaming. These include the elevator at the Imperial War Museum, a sonic portrait of Venice, and a wonderful document of a wire fence, captured with contact microphones.
Track originally posted for free download at touchradio.org. More from Seddon at rmartinseddon.co.uk. More on the Wildeye program, whose other tutors/staff include Jez riley French and Piers Warren, at wildeye.co.uk. Map image via indianwildlife.com.