Search results for "sound "

Stifled

Author: joe

Wednesday, 17 November, 2010 - 22:32

- on distant sounds

By now I have to think of things from an artificial space, with neither place nor time; a space only of words, phone-calls, meetings, timetables, politics, waiting, failures. By now I'm a professional acrobat, actor and tightrope walker, for an audience that I invent, that I describe to myself, a remote audience with whom I have no contact, stifled echoes of whose talking, clapping and disapproval reach me, whose wars, catastrophes, famines, suicides, escapes, poverty or anxious restings along crowded beaches or inside smoky stadiums I read about in papers; how can I know who are the ones expecting something from me?
 
When I Was a Very Small Boy by Ettore Sottsass

The capillary spaces through which the sounds and sensations of the others reach me disperse the messages in the matter and deaden the effect. This gap is no longer an empty abyss but a mediating field which distorts, hinders, dampens, and strangles.

What do those sounds signify? Distant armies? Cries for help? The unheeding continuity of a world carrying on about its business? All the rich and kaleidoscopic variety one imagines lies beyond is homogenised into a confused, thudding, constant drone. The voice that I hope asks, "who are you?" may all too easily be an inscription into the sound, all of my own making, a product of my desire.

And yet, does a modulation break through, intermittently, briefly, a chink in the proofing, where the high tones penetrate? Is a rescue mission underway, drilling through the dead rock, reaching out with an answer to the yearning?

Categories: Ettore Sottsass, distance, alienation, sound, Matthew Arnold, dialogue,
Comments: 0

Hengistbury Starlings

Author: joe

Wednesday, 24 September, 2008 - 20:21

The starlings - two or three hundred, I'd guess - gathered on a patch of bare scrub and bush, by a fence on which some gather in a line, others adorn the tips of the bare brush branch, and some disappear against the indistinct green of the gorse and bracken. They catch song from each other and the sound spreads and scatters in quick waves through the throng. In amongst the sounds are odd fragments that seem not to belong, but the whole seems to liquify into a seamless wave of unison.

First gargling and burbling like a bubbling up - a stream of warbles, weaving among the mass. Or sometimes a jagged hack which blisters and catches across the swarm, gunpowdered and contagious. Then the swooping whistle, low and dipping, and rising to a piercing sweep at the highest point, veering round the flock in waves, domino-ing through the bird bodies, the whole a shimmering pool of speckled heartbeats, merging into one, scattered on the bush, shrub and brush.

And then a dog - or me, or some whistling walker - shocks the air and they fall quiet, the silence catching like fear, or the chill that spreads down the down of the neck. Some reckless one or two ignore the soundless instinct of the crowd and sing on regardless, and quickly the majority fail to resist the temptation, assent to the invitation, and the song glistens around the congregation again. So on they bicker and loop, until sudden and arbitrary, they explode into the air and go, reckless and random, elsewhere.

Categories: bird, song, sound, starling, hengistbury, head, wave, nature,
Comments: 0

Listening and hearing

Author: joe

Friday, 07 April, 2006 - 09:53

This year's Reith lectures which began broadcasting on Radio 4 this morning are delivered by Daniel Barenboim, composer, and address the fact that western culture today is a visual culture - and what we are missing out on by allowing our ears to be aneasthetised to music.

It's absolutely fascinating, and extremely enjoyable to hear him bat away condescending and stupid questions from people like David Mellor. He also talks about the idea of conscious naivete - that state a musician is in when the discipline of the instrument and the knowledge of a piece of music is subsumed, and the performance of the music can become truly possible.

I wonder if it is at all possible to achieve that kind of 'performance' in a visual medium - what could it mean? How does a visual artist 'perform' at all? When you play music, and forget what your fingers are doing, and feel only the music coming out, you can say you are performing. Can a visual artist ever say the same?

Whatever the case, the Reith lectures are unfailingly brilliant - last year's lectures about the progress of technology were fascinating - and marred only by the fact that the BBC insist on having Sue fucking Lawley chair them.

Categories: music, sound, culture, lecture, bbc,
Comments: 1

Westonbirt Arboretum

Author: joe

Sunday, 27 November, 2005 - 20:45

Autumn Soundseeing: Westonbirt Arboretum

Menticulture Westonbirt Arboretum podcast mp3

Duration: 15:13; Size: 8MB

Categories: podcast, soundseeing, autumn, westonbirt arboretum,
Comments: 0

UK Summer Soundseeing

Author: joe

Sunday, 16 October, 2005 - 23:55

What I did this summer - UK Summer Soundseeing podcast

Been a long break from podcasting, so we make up for it with a hour-long UK soundseeing special. Climbing waterfalls in Welsh valleys, folk music in Penzance, what there isn't to do in Lincolnshire when you're young, and why public art isn't very public...

Some links from the show:



Menticulture's UK Summer Soundseeing Podcast mp3

Duration: 59:26; Size: 28MB

Categories: podcast, soundseeing, uk, summer, art, folk music,
Comments: 1

Soundseeing in Budapest

Author: joe

Thursday, 30 June, 2005 - 14:08

Our friend Sarah decided to celebrate her birthday in Budapest, so we - Sarah, Alain, Cath, and I - went for a long weekend. You may or may not be pleased to know that I learnt to say 'Please can you mince it?' in Hungarian. This podcast is about jingles, graffiti, the war, the meaning of life, and facial carpet-burns.

The Budapest Soundseeing Podcast mp3

Shownotes:


Duration: 1:04:03; Size: 31MB

Categories: podcast, budapest, soundseeing,
Comments: 0