Tag: white noise

June 11th

Somewhere near a field in Oxfordshire

I made this recording on Thursday 11th June:

11062020

At daybreak, my face still turned to the wall, and before I had seen above the big window-curtains what tone the first streaks of light assumed, I could already tell what the weather was like. The first sounds from the street had told me, according to weather they came to my ears deadened and distorted by the moisture of the atmosphere or quivering like arrows in the resonant, empty expanses of a spacious, frosty, pure morning; as soon as I heard the rumble of the first tramcar, I could tell whether it was sodden with rain or setting forth into the blue.

Marcel Proust The Captive (1925)

Leaning out of an upstairs window I can hear the sound of hedgerow birds, chickens running in one of the nearby gardens; a football bouncing on a paving slab and then being kicked into the shrubbery; a lone car heading West on the A4130 sounding the asphalt; a Red Kite circling overhead. I lean out further, listening into the distance, into the future, waiting for the tide of mechanised sound to return, for the drone of tyres on asphalt, not the phasing passage of a single car, but the sweeping tide of traffic sound flooding across fields, down lanes, through dense woodland. Perhaps it is still here, cars pass in groups, the air vibrates, the X2 pauses at the bus stop. Covid 19 has transformed our sounding environment, but how much is that transformation felt in any one place, in a place on the periphery of the situation? Can I hear it from my window? Is it evident in my everyday? And when will the tide of sound turn? and when it does turn how will we feel about it? As the air begins to vibrate with the phasing of distant jets will we want to step back or will we embrace the return to the normative sounding of the world? The soundscape is ambivalent. It represents the reduction of pollutants in the atmosphere but also signals the absence of loved ones. The temporary absence of friends but also the permanent absence of those who have lost their lives. This is a soundscape of hope and a soundscape of loss. It is a soundscape of a brighter future, one where listening to the world is part of the decision-making process we undertake when we chose to travel or not to travel; but it is also a soundscape of a brighter past, a past where now lost loved ones were still with us, where we could hear the sounds of their voices vibrating in the air and not just in memory.

Distal Bodies 64.3dBSPL (LAeq)

Woodcote Village Green

Location: Village Green, Woodcote, Oxfordshire, UK

Date: 11th May 2020

Time: 08:56 – 09:11

Weather: Sunny, light cloud with a moderate breeze

Temperature: 8oC

Average Sound Level: 64.3dBSPL (LAeq)

My ‘BBC Weather’ app reads; ‘Sunny and a fresh breeze’ but this description does not seem to capture the experience, having been buffeted by the wind, hands numbed and tripod blown over. Sitting huddled on the park bench, my ears grumble with waves of wind noise, each bluster conjuring breakers of white noise passing right to left, north to south, following the line of trees marking the edge of the green. These tumbling gusts mask tyres and engines on the Goring Road along with the many movements I cannot see. I notice that the commercial vans have returned after the long weekend, but only the low rumble of their engines radiating from the adjacent Reading Road, can duck beneath the wind noise. The ‘breeze’, cloud and cooler air seem to have convinced many to stay indoors. An elderly man with a dog, prosthetic throwing arm and tennis ball, a lady running laps into the turf and a well-clad gentleman sitting atop a diesel mower circling the cricket pitch, infield, outfield. Cold and eager to return home, I dutifully record five minutes of the soundscape, all the time uneasy with the flashing ‘low battery’ indicator. Then, pack-up, load myself with the paraphernalia and walk briskly back across the park weaving to respect the invisible two-meter boundary surrounding people milling outside the corner-shop.

Woodcote Village Green

00.54 …at Gloucester Green

On a recent visit to Berlin to perform it pays my way and it corrodes my soul with Stephen Cornford at LEAP, I made these recordings. Whenever I could I stopped and recorded my situation from the raucous queue outside a nightclub in Oxford to the escalators at Stansted and a Mexican dinner in Berlin. The recordings were made using an Edirol R-09HR.

Extra context here.

[mejsaudio src=”http://www.sound-diaries.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/00.54-…at-Gloucester-Green.mp3″]
00.54 …at Gloucester Green

Berlin Sound Diary

At Audiograft last year, Paul Whitty and Stephen Cornford performed a piece at Modern Art Oxford entitled it pays my way and it corrodes my soul. This piece utilises a reel-to-reel tape-player, the expected role of which is subverted and transformed throughout the performance. The audience do not hear recorded sounds being played back through it – as is its anticipated function – instead, we hear the sounds of the machine itself as it is dismantled:

A reel-to-reel tape recorder is switched on and it’s mechanism amplified with a variety of microphones while it is taken to pieces. The sounds produced are then fed through an array of pedals: the machine’s belts, gears, switches and casing becoming an instrument subjected to a live audio autopsy. The piece was premiered at the Audiograft Festival at Modern Art Oxford in February 2011 and has since been performed at The Horse Hospital, London and LEAP, Berlin.

http://scrawn.co.uk/19.html

During the recent trip to Berlin to perform the work, Paul produced a Sound Diary documenting the whole journey from Oxford to LEAP and home again:

On a recent visit to Berlin to perform it pays my way and it corrodes my soul with Stephen Cornford at LEAP, I made these recordings. Whenever I could I stopped and recorded my situation from the raucous queue outside a nightclub in Oxford to the escalators at Stansted and a Mexican dinner in Berlin. The recordings were made using an Edirol R-09HR.

The resulting collection of recordings contextualises the performance within the sounds and stories of the world, blurring the distinctions between life and art, and revealing the sequences of sounds which precede and follow the designated cultural experience. As the role of the tape-player is subverted in the performance itself, so is the role of documentation in Paul Whitty’s resulting sonic work. Rather than existing merely to evidence the performance of it pays my way and it corrodes my soul at LEAP, the Berlin Sound Diary becomes a piece in its own right, extending the function of documentation in the same way that the performance extends the sonic and imaginative possibilities of an old reel-to-reel tape player.

Paul’s Berlin Sound Diary will be released day by day here, throughout January, as we consider the role of the Sound Diary and Sonic Documentation in the run up to this year’s Audiograft Festival at Oxford Brookes.

[mejsaudio src=”http://www.sound-diaries.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/00.15-…at-the-corner-of-Speedwell-Street-and-St.-Aldates.mp3″]
00.15 …at the corner of Speedwell Street and St. Aldates

19th December

From the 1st – 24th December, we will reveal 24 seconds of sound from a warmer place here on the sound-diaries blog, taken from either Paul Whitty or Felicity Ford’s collections of holiday recordings.

Today’s sound was recorded by Paul Whitty, and features the sounds of a campfire on a beach in Seaside, Oregon, USA, shortly before the roasting of some marshmallows commenced.

[mejsaudio src=”http://www.sound-diaries.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/December-19th.mp3″]

14th December

From the 1st – 24th December, we will reveal 24 seconds of sound from a warmer place here on the sound-diaries blog, taken from either Paul Whitty or Felicity Ford’s collections of holiday recordings.

Today we are deviating from this plan to bring you a recording from Mike Blow’s collection instead; this is the sound of cicadas from summer nighttime in Samos, in Greece. Recorded by Mike Blow.

[mejsaudio src=”http://www.sound-diaries.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/December-14th.mp3″]