Jun 11 2007

Another aural adventure

Published by at 8:12 am under Art,Sound

I was sharing some thoughts about the project I’ve been working on with my dad. He’d asked me if I intended for there to be a visual componant with the sounds.

Here’s what I wrote:

I hoped that the aural experience would be strong enough to stand on its own. It was, in fact, my intention to evoke a series of images and other sensory impressions with the sounds. I don’t know if most people would have the patience or interest in having that kind of experience, but it has always been something that interests me. This current project is turning into something quite different than I first imagined, and I look forward to exploring the creative nuances available to me. For example, it was my original intention to use the environmental recordings as transitions between composed musical interludes. As I spent more time with them, however, I began to see them as rich and interesting tapestries of sound, and worthy of attention in their own right. Now, I’m beginning to notice musical components within the recordings (the rhythm of a walk, or the melody of a spoken phrase) and have started thinking that each could inspire its own musical composition. My goal now is to assemble 80 minutes worth of interesting environmental material, and that will be its own thing. If I can use the recordings as source material, I’ll record a 2nd CD of equal length but, instead of the ambient sounds, it will be music. One could, when both are done, play both together and produce a pleasing effect.

Of course, that’s hugely ambitious. Still, the idea has some charm…

I don’t have a specific time frame for completing the project. I have a few ideas about sounds that I want, and will be recording them in the next few weeks, but I’m really just taking my time and trying to compile stuff I feel really good about. For example, I was sitting at my computer the other day and heard a huge, thuderous, metallic BOOM. I walked down the block and around the corner to discover that a huge tractor was pulling out the cement foundation of a local business and dumping the pieces into a dumptster. I came back later with my camera, but the dumpster was gone. Still I recorded the tractor, and the interesting thing was that the sound was echoing off a building across the street and, where I was standing, the affect was really pronounced. When I played it back on headphones at home, it sounded as though it were some sort of digital process and not simply an acoustic environment.

A year or so ago I recorded at the local mall on Black Friday (the day after Thanksgiving, which is the busiest shopping day of the year). As I was walking toward the mall entrance, three girls spontaniously started singing the Darth Vader theme. A few minutes later, inside the mall, I happened to catch an employee at KB Toys announcing that all this stuff was sold out. I couldn’t have scripted that even if I’d wanted to. It was just amazing.

Today I was recording paddle boats at a local park.

I’d be happy to post another excerpt.

How about Las Vegas, Baby!

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