For Cities and Memory: Oblique Strategies, more than 60 musicians and artists from almost 20 countries around the world took the classic card set by Brian Eno and Peter Schmidt as their guide. Each participant either made a field recording or reworked an existing sound, or both, in pursuit of responding to the Oblique prompts. Marcus Lisle, for example, took the sound of cracking ice on the Merrimack River in the U.S. and had these as his Oblique Strategies: “Trust in the you of now,” “Work at a different speed.” For David Mixco, it was a Pudong airport in China and “You are an engineer,” “What context would look right?” For Christina Wong it was a tuna auction in Tokyo, Japan and “Move towards the unimportant,” “Do we need holes?”
This playlist contains some of the resulting sounds:
The mix of unmediated and repurposed sounds works well in this context. The sheer breadth of material can’t be easily consumed, and even the map-specific locations don’t entirely focus the imagination on what is generally unmoored and often abstract. Instead, variety is the guide, a flux of contrasts in a sea of geolocated audio.