Have had a weird week. Feel drained, so was a pleasure to study a
Lili Boulanger score, Vieille Prière Bouddhique which sets a buddhist prayer. Just what I needed. Very calming! I like the dove tailing and how the choir blends well with the orchestra. Hypnotic!
Since receiving the Feeney Fellowship late last year, I have made contact with some very exciting and experienced sound artists who work with field recordings. I’d describe my compositional practice as being primarily concerned with instrumental music, but I do dabble with music production and samples. I wish to learn more about this realm to support for-Wards project, which invites communities to capture field recordings in their neighbourhoods.
I used field recordings with communities for the first time in a THSH music education project called Pipe Up in 2008 based around the organ in Coventry cathedral. We used freeware and captured found sounds from the organ as a soundtrack for animations young people created.
Working with field recordings is a growing interest, and it is a real honour to have this opportunity to learn from such inspirational figures. At the beginning of January 2016, I met up with sound artist Duncan Chapman. We spent a rather relaxed morning exploring and recording sounds round Northfield district, starting out in Longbridge, and then used the afternoon to talk and listen to the various ways found sounds have been used by composers.
It was great to learn and see how Duncan engaged with the environment. We both admitted how as field recordists there is an inner conflict about how you capture certain sounds, for example, the sound of tiles being removed from a semi-detached house in Longbridge coupled with bird song sounded ace, but we both admitted to wanting the sound of the man doing the tiling work’s radio to stop playing. We spoke about the awareness of our very human tendency, to want to control our sonic environment and filter out sounds we didn’t find interesting
Mission to the Land of Misplaced Words: “Shebeen Sounds” Shebeen Sounds research period will collect, via audio and photographs, folk songs, music and the associated memories that accompany them. The audio will form the basis of a soundscape that is played throughout the public residency and the images will form part of the visual projections culminating in May 2016.
For Birmingham Heritage Week, as a Data Thief, I curated the launch of Shebeen Sounds, an experimental research project exploring the memories which reside in self-proclaimed cultural spaces, or “shebeens”, around Birmingham. We are going to work with Afro-Caribbean, Polish, Bangladeshi and Congolese communities to research and learn about their shebeen spaces. In May next year we will turn our findings into a piece of immersive sound and art.
At the launch event, Shebeen Kings and Queens Caroline, Ken and Ian, told our guests about the project over Congolese tea, curry goat and rice and Polish cake. I created pink noise for the memory collection room which was interspersed with cosmic themed DJ sets played by Gary and I. The aim was to immerse our guests into a chilled vibe to ease their memories being collected by Mission//Misplaced captain Gaylene Gould.
Here are some pictures from our launch event at Vivid Projects, taken by Marcin Szymczak.
3 . Although my roman catholic days ended with secondary education (I have BIG problems with the church’s views on homosexuality, abortion etc.), I found this news story quite moving. Watching the pope pull up in a rather humble blue ford focus, to bless a disabled woman tweaked the old heart strings. There was no media, no agenda to him stopping the car, I just saw a man using his position to genuinely care for people. That moved me.