(Personal) Data Processing (MP3)

A sound diary is about reflecting as much as it is about recording.

There may not be a better model of contemporary data overload than Jorge Luis Borges’ image of the map that is so detailed that it is exactly the same size as the territory it seeks to represent. The rise in data consumption — personal and corporate and governmental — suggests something even beyond Borges’ imagining: a map several times the size of the territory it represents. The act of recording everyday noise is an increasingly common occurrence, but a question rises along with that activity’s popularity: what to do with all those sounds? To record an hour’s worth of sound every day is to then have, at the end of a year, over two full weeks of audio to listen back on.

One answer is to adopt a habit of processing the audio, which would be the sonic equivalent of a journal that is not only representational of one’s day, but that provides a sense of reflection, of active consideration of the sounds and what they represent. Take Random Coil‘s “Intentions,” a short (not even three minutes) construction built from his own collected field recordings.

He outlines the source audio as follows:

a loop out of a 3 sec video accident (actually that was supposed to become the track & video, but it was overgrown now by other things), threading a thread into a sewing machine, bell sounds of invisible goats that were transported with the wind in Zurich, and the respective wind, an empty falling cashew can, and the mechanical voice at Berlin Südkreuz train station.

The result is an enjoyably rhythmic work in which the various noises roll atop a slow beat, itself constructed from some of the collected sounds. Bells and scratches and other items resound, each part of the collective whole. In the brief note accompanying the track, Random Coil, who is based in Berlin, Germany, notes that the creator of such a track has a unique vantage on it:

the partials kind of play with each other, sometimes they seem to jump out of their track to another (but, I guess it´s only noticable if you know the single tracks)

That depiction seems quite keen. The construction has a public value, as intriguing entertainment, but retains unique properties for the individual who made it, a sonic collage of snippets from a set of experiences.

Track originally posted at soundcloud.com/random-coil.

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