Thursday, October 7, 2010

slippery rock

Out of context this piece won't make a whole heap of sense. Matt Brown is a synthesist and trickster. His work as a solo artist and also with the band Zond are stunning. When I asked him to participate in the Slidesound project he offered me a recording he had made in the studios around five years ago of a group of people playing a drunken game of truth or dare, but said that it could be offensive, perhaps expecting me to back out. I thought it might be a nice idea, demystifying the artist's space which a mystique had been building around. Besides I thought, in the context of the street it as unlikely that anyone would be able to pin point anything specific in an hour long recording.

When I received the recording it was drenched in reverb obscuring the words and, I thought, the original intention. I told Matthew I would be unwilling to use the recording in this state and a tussle of wills ensued. Finally I received a recording from him without the reverb, which is the one I present to you here.

The other day I was speaking to a mutual friend who told me Matt had told him that he had given me the same recording on both occasions. I have lost the original file he gave me, but maintain this is untrue, as you can hear for yourself the recording has no reverb on it, but I have no way of telling for certain that its not the same one. Maybe this is why the piece is called "Slippery Rock" it makes you unsure of how to stand on it.

slippery rock Matthew's latest piece of mischief within mischief.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Gone Tomorrow

The now of Tim Coster's "Here Today" is slippery, the piece is a layering of 3 different field recordings. Like all the Slidesound pieces it's played out into the street 24/7 adding a further field of sound.  The piece is beautifully mixed sweetly balanced but only behind the picture plane of the speaker after this point, out in the world, traffic noise eclipses the recording momentarily or the cold night air amplifies and carries it, exagerrating the tones. I'm starting to see this piece constructed not as layers, a convention promoted by audio editing software, but as nested recordings, one inside the other . To diagram the piece; music box tones sit inside a persistent and distant burgular alarm inside the sound of rain on styrofoam inside the brashness of Gertrude Street or wherever it is you listen to it. At home its a different piece entirely or on head phones on your bike. Its a nice kind of music that alerts you to the sounds around you after the auditory atrophy that years of city living brings on.

Here Today

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The Listening Cure

"Noise, noise, noise - the single greatest disease vector for civilisastion"
-Alto in JG Ballard's "The Sound-Sweep"

Ross Manning's piece for this month's sound slide takes the same proposition as J.G. Ballard's "The Sound-Sweep" and carries it to a different conclusion. Both works start with the (perhaps) ficticious idea that objects can soak up resonances which build up and seep out over the following years affecting the psyche (and health) of those around them.

Both fictions necessitate inventions. In Ballard's story its the Sonovac which sucks up and eliminates the sounds but in Manning's "Junkcast Radio" its an imaginary radio reciever which can detect and transmit these sounds. So the basic strategies for dealing with the phenomenon are different though both acknowledge a painful past sonically encoded on the environment. Manning utilizes these residues and contextualizes them amongst each other. This struggle is whats audible in the piece not reconcilliation but after all Ballard's neat and convenient "Sonovac" seems a little like wishful thinking.

Ross says that his "piece takes the form of an imaginary radio broadcast. The material heard is a mash of experiences that objects in the area have had over the years, the old 'if these walls could talk ' scenario. The walls, streets, back alleys, trees and drains of the area have the collected histories that are tapped and amplified by an imagined radio receiver, tuning in of different objects, remembrances of the soundings. Snatches of stories, the violence, love, friendship and terror of human occupation are recorded and played back to the street where they originated."

junkcast radio

thanks to Andrew Barrie for hosting

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Infinite Enjoyment

Oliver Hextall is a Melbourne artist whose sound works have always seemed to me to be radical in their open endedness. He is a close friend of mine so when I conceived of using the Slide space at Gertrude Street to present sound works on an endless loop out into the street, I immediately thought of his work.

His performances seem to have no start or end. They are niether diminished nor enhanced by walking in or out of the room while he is playing. They seem to be perfect furniture music, whose aimlessness implies an author-less and therefore natural world. Though synthetic in quality there is something very naturalistic about his balance of repetition to change, heavy on the repetition but with elements sliding in and out of notice at a pace that though slow, avoids the previous uses of glacial-change-as-menace prevalent in the rigors of minimal techno or the machismo of The Melvins or Sun 0))).

This work "Medieval Geometric" was commissioned as the first of the SoundSlide works and is available free under a creative commons license (as I hope all the SoundSlide works will be). It is composed of unsyched tape loops (real ones) which slip in and out of phase creating distorted Angus Maclise like poly-rhythms, like "Thunderbolt Pagoda" in its evocative use of distortion this piece uses that lack of clarity to create a space to be filled by the listeners imagination. As a part of Slide it will be presented as a loop but here is available as a one hour slice, a metaloop perhaps to be played on loop once more for your infinite enjoyment.

Download Medieval Geometry