So many sirens seem to be in the air with the onset of summer. Today I witnessed two cars slam into each other at the intersection of Broadway and Wilson, which happened as the passers-by (and probably at least one of the drivers implicated in the crash) stopped for a police car and an ambulance and their variations of warning. My piece occurs in the place where similar, but different sounds collide.
The husband recorded his walk into work in the city and I played with it.
This was out of my own avoidance of city sounds.
If one thing characterises this place I live in, it’s sheer bloodymindedness. After all, this in Sussex, where “We wunt be druv” is an unofficial motto. So it’s no surprise that Lewesians take a deal of pride in the fact that Tom Paine lived here for some years, and the debating society he joined, the Headstrong Club, was restarted some years ago. Thanks to the Tom Paine Printing Press, it’s not uncommon to see his sayings stuck up in front windows as posters.
Yes, Paine and Independence (and Bonfire). That just about sums up this place.
And the sound? The sound of argument, of striving for equity and truth, of protest and celebration and singing.
I’d say he is a man whose time (if it ever went away) has come again:
“Independence is my happiness, and I view things as they are, without regard to place or person; my country is the world, and my religion is to do good.”
Killing Me Softly with Bird Song – The Noise Project #9 The Free for All
By my home is a large tree where deep in its foliage large habitats of birds reside. Every morning just before the sun rises these songbirds begin to sing. It starts slow and singular. The sounds start to increase as the conversations progress. Is it just conversation and how much of the community is involved? As the sun starts to crest the horizon, the song moves to cacophony. I drift in and out of consciousness as light starts to pierce my blinds the open window challenges my sleep. The songs change from a choir to chaos. A good chaos, nature’s calamity. Then the alarm goes off the birds seem to stop and my day begins.
Random surveillance recording. Prism ain’t the only show in town.
It is said that Lewes’s High Street follows an ancient ley line, accounting for the proliferation of churches: from west to east, St Anne’s, St Pancras, Westgate Chapel, St Michael’s, the Holy Sepulchre site (Britain’s first Templar church and the alleged resting place of the Holy Grail), the Friends Meeting House a block to the south, Eastgate Church and the Jireh Chapel half a block to the north, and finally St Thomas’s. All this in a pretty straight half-mile stretch. That’s a lot of bells.
I am not a fan of bells. Wedding day peals and the doleful tolling of funerals are one thing (not that I am a fan of weddings and funerals either). But the marking off of life in 15-minute intervals I cannot be doing with. I once spent a few days in a very strange household in Scotland, where the gentleman of the house had recently been making a hobby of collecting and repairing chiming clocks. Throughout the day and all through the night these many clocks chimed the quarters, all of them telling a slightly different time, with the result that, two days later and psychotic with lack of sleep, I fled, never to return.
J Alfred Prufrock had the right idea. If one must measure out one’s life, best do it with coffee spoons.
2 Readings of an extract from ‘Street Haunting: a London Adventure.’ Essay by Virginia Woolf
Film – London Skyline during Snowstorm from Quickly Emptying Office Building – Caspar Below
Reading 1 – maintaining the thought of her being alive.
Reading 2 – maintaining the thought of her being dead.
“But when the door shuts on us, all that vanishes. The shell–like covering which our souls have excreted to house themselves, to make for themselves a shape distinct from others, is broken, and there is left of all these wrinkles and roughnesses a central oyster of perceptiveness, an enormous eye.
How beautiful a street is in winter! It is at once revealed and obscured. Here vaguely one can trace symmetrical straight avenues of doors and windows; here under the lamps are floating islands of pale light through which pass quickly bright men and women, who, for all their poverty and shabbiness, wear a certain look of unreality, an air of triumph, as if they had given life the slip, so that life, deceived of her prey, blunders on without them.”
Virginia Woolf – Street Haunting: A London Adventure (Essay)
No time, absolutely no time for Challenge 9!
Play. Installation. Sound piece. Dress rehearsal Thursday. Performances Friday and Saturday. All for a cause. For MAG.
The invitation states:
INCH by INCH, a collaborative work we’ve created to highlight the effects of landmines and other unexploded ordnance on civilian populations. It is a fundraising event for MAG, (Mines Advisory Group), the humanitarian organisation that tackles the destructive legacy of violence and conflict.
No time, absolutely no time for Challenge 9!
An experimental radio transmission made entirely out of voice samples mimicking the sounds of the city and its modes of transmission and transportation- a semblance sound map of mechanized and motorized systems: construction site machinery, engines, alarms, traffic warnings, sirens, trains, etc accompanied by an ‘automatic’ stream of consciousness voice-over.
a strange interactive void of soundhubs, a system moving at the speed of cities, creating an always unique soundscape, as you walk forever in dynamic circles
above is a demo video, below are links to download the program
written using processing, which requires java to run (source included)
mac osx (10mb) *see the readme
One minute FM radio sweep in Oslo.
trucking trucks and the men who truck
Having begun the Noise Intercepted project back in March with a piece inspired by my current home city of Liverpool, this week’s brief gave me a chance to redress the balance and pay homage to the city in which I grew up. Having been challenged to create whatever I wanted – with the proviso that it must be “inspired by the sounds of my city” – I’ve decided that now is the time to engage with Sheffield’s primal noise.
Please note: this is primarily a spoken word piece, but it also contains certain sound elements recorded on a mobile phone, under cover of darkness, at The Big Melt, Crucible Theatre, Sheffield, June 12th 2013.
I’ll also add that the photograph on this page was taken while on a walk round the Kelham Island area of Sheffield in September 1985. At the time, I feared I could hear the gasp of a consumptive city desperately trying to catch its breath, and I worried that the deepest silence of all might soon fall.
Fortunately though, it was no death rattle. So put your ear to the ground and listen…
I´m back to Brazil. Traffic sound, in a country which complains not only for a better public transportation system, but also for better conditions for everyone. In the midst of it, the FIFA Confederations Cup start. What will happen next week?