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Listening to art. Playing with audio. Sounding out technology. Composing in code. Rewinding the soundscape.

Listening from Wittgenstein’s Steps

A Dublin field recording from Susanna Caprara

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Susanna Caprara works widely under the moniker La Cosa Preziosa, or “the precious thing.” Originally from Italy but living now in Dublin, Ireland, she posts experimental audio work and field recordings to her SoundCloud account. The latter are generally brief segments of daily life. Part of what distinguishes her field recordings is that they often are not pristine documents of specific sounds, but instead snatches of the broader array of sounds in which those sounds are heard. They are frequently messy (in a good way) and lively, more along the lines of diary entries than encyclopedia entries.

A recording of a bagpipes player, for example, entertaining a crowd in front of a department store has nearly as much crowd noise as it does the sound of that slurry, fuzzy bellows instrument, and it is a cause for her reflections (at her soundreflections.org site): “there is a strange excitement in the air, and with all the surrounding shops still closed this man has the full & undivided, freezing-cold audience’s attention.”

Among her most recent uploads is an echoing track made inside the Botanic Gardens in Dublin, abundant with a chatty naturalism, a mix of constructed natural space and bystander conversations. The piece is itself a construction, made from three different spots: “outdoors, by the stream in the rockery, and at the Wittgenstein steps (inside The Palm House greenhouse).” It’s a great example of how field recordings can be as much about memory and experience as they can be about taxonomy and data.

Track originally posted at soundcloud.com/lacosapreziosa. More from Susanna Caprara’s La Cosa Preziosa at twitter.com/lacosapreziosa and lacosapreziosa.net. The photo of the Wittgenstein plaque is from her blog post.

By Marc Weidenbaum

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  • Marc Weidenbaum founded the website Disquiet.com in 1996 at the intersection of sound, art, and technology, and since 2012 has moderated the Disquiet Junto, an active online community of weekly music/sonic projects. He has written for Nature, Boing Boing, The Wire, Pitchfork, and NewMusicBox, among other periodicals. He is the author of the 33 1⁄3 book on Aphex Twin’s classic album Selected Ambient Works Volume II. Read more about his sonic consultancy, teaching, sound art, and work in film, comics, and other media

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