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

tag: field-recording

Current Favorites: Maraš, Buckley, Ristić, Hoedemaekers

Heavy rotation, lightly annotated

A weekly(ish) answer to the question “What have you been listening to lately?” It’s lightly annotated because I don’t like re-posting material without providing some context. I hope to write more about some of these in the future, but didn’t want to delay sharing them. (This weekly feature was previously titled Current Listens. The name’s been updated for clarity’s sake.)

Svetlana Maraš’ Ear I Am is an ever-shifting survey of antic sounds, industrial mechanics, and playful noises, all with a sense of rhythmic flow, even if that rhythm is, on occasion, purposefully quite subtle. The six-track album is a live recording, taped back in 2017 on the first of February at the Ear We Are Festival in Biel, Switzerland. She is based in Belgrade, Serbia.

Linda Buckley’s “Loom” is a ferocious heave of mechanical trance state, until it isn’t, until the gear gnashing briefly disappears and all that’s left is the trance itself. And then the burners power up, and the machines go at it again. Thrilling. She is based in Dublin, Ireland.

The 17th album in the great 20×20 series is another set of 20 tracks, each 20 seconds long. This latest, Do Not Go Gentle by Manja Ristić, alternates between degraded recordings of Dylan Thomas poems with snatches of string instruments, rattly percission, and field recordings. She is based in Belgrade, Serbia.

Rutger Hoedemaekers’ music for the TV series No Man’s Land is a beautiful expanse of tension-laden stillness. He’s probably best known for his work, with Hildur Guðnadóttir and the late Jóhann Jóhannsson, on Trapped. I can’t find much of this excellent score in embeddable form on non-commercial streaming services, but it’s at music.youtube.com and spotify.com. (If those links fail, please let me know.) Also recommended is his The Last Berliner score, which I’ve had on repeat the past few months. Hoedemaekers, originally from the Netherlands, is based in Brussels, Belgium.

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Hilary Robinson’s Sonic Advent Calendar

Continuing through the Winter Solstice

London-based composer Hilary Robinson has been unpacking what she describes as “a sonic advent calendar for 2020.” The playlist, titled Sounds for Shrinking Days, is growing a piece at a time, “intended to conclude with the Winter Solstice.” There are 11 tracks thus far, beginning with a slow, purposeful piano piece, one in which the lingering tones seem as important as the carefully impacted notes. The most recent, the 11th in the series, appears to employ a delay that echoes a spritely, genteel piano part, as if ghostly hands were all playing a single piano at the same time. In between are other experiments, including a vocal part that is equally reverberant and celestial (entry 6), and what appears to be a field recording of rain (entry 10). The solstice occurs on December 21, meaning there are 10 days remaining of musical miniatures. “These are short tracks,” writes Robinson, “mostly improvised, all original and created to amuse me in these darkening days.”

The playlist is at soundcloud.com/hilaryrobinson. More at from Robinson at about.me/hilaryrobinson, hilaryrobinson.bandcamp.com, and twitter.com/hvrlon.

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Emma Hendrix x Julie Gendron x W.A.C. Bennett

Hydroelectric minimal techno

Julie Gendron and Emma Hendrix are Manufacturing Entertainment, a Canadian art duo with a decade and a half of collaboration (audio, video, installation, performance) to their credit. “When Once There Was” is a trance-inducing, ever-evolving, minimal-techno transition state, nearly a quarter of an hour during which rapid pulses gain hypnotic powers. What begins as mechanized pitter-patter escalates to something consuming and palpable, engrossing and enthralling. It might be difficult at any given moment to comprehend how what you recall from minutes, even moments, ago even became what you are currently hearing.

As it turns out, the transformation began before the track did. The audio is sourced from site recordings of the W.A.C Bennett Dam, a hydroelectric buttress against the Williston Reservoir in British Columbia, Canada. The 50th anniversary of the dam’s construction was celebrated two years ago, in 2018. The audio is a live performance, broacast on CiTR, the University of British Columbia’s radio station.

Track originally posted to soundcloud.com/emmahendrix. More on Manufacturing Entertainment at manufacturingentertainment.com and instagram.com/manufacturing_entertainment. Maps via Google.

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Cecilia Tyrrell on Radius

For the series' 93rd episode

The long-running Radius broadcast/podcast series has reached episode 93. This current entry, which was released today, features a piece by Cecilia Tyrrell.

It overlays field recordings of the coastline with jittery spoken word, the latter like a public address system sent through the shredder. A brief description lends context:

“Sonic topography inspired and partly arranged from recordings made at a sound mirror on the South East coast of England (UK). The mirror itself stands dormant as it waits, facing out away from land. Sound markers and siren warnings, still it listens, quietly detecting.”

The sound mirror is pictured up top, a presence obscured by fog. Bells that bop around like buoys on a wave mix with appropriate burbling as the piece comes to a close, but up until then it’s a much more complex undertaking. The water sloshes like it’s underfoot, the sound taking on the semblance of a journey, either in search of or in avoidance of what remains unclear. The garbled voiceover sounds like a warning, but for whom? It’s an abstract audio drama, a thriller that replaces plot with pure sensation, as ambiguous as it is deliberate.

Track originally posted at soundcloud.com/theradius. More on the piece at theradius.us/episode93. More from Tyrrell at ceciliatyrrell.com.

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Musique Concrète Monday

The latest from Jimmy Kipple's patzr radio

The excellent patzr radio art-sound podcast persists with reworked field recordings, episodes 202a and 202b each consisting of 140 seconds of birdsong and rain, squelched conversation and sirens, wind and unidentifiable noises, the source audio all reduced to snippets that are then moved constantly between speakers, flipped this way and that. It’s musique concrète in its truest form: small chamber works hewn from nothing but the everyday noise, easily ignored sounds turned into something inherently memorable. The series is the long-running work of Jimmy Kipple.

Tracks originally posted at soundcloud.com/patzr-radio.

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