Tag: Laurence Colbert

Put The Needle On The Record #17 : Seattle : 08102019

The histories of architecture in the city are ‘scrolls’ waiting to be discovered and ‘read’ (Calvino, 1972). While investigating these scrolls through the practice of walking the streets of the city accompanied by wheeled luggage, I have found a ‘stylus’ for reading the pavement topography, the skin of the city. The wheels of the luggage bag connect directly with the built environment, rather like putting the needle on a record: a record that is city-sized and can be played in any direction. This practice presents a way of recording, mapping, and sonifying the streets of the city.

Put The Needle On The Record was created by Loz Colbert. Find out more about the project here.

From my sound diary that day 08102019: My fingers tapping on the keyboard on the laptop writing this late at night. Alert sounds. The sound of the Lime bicycle and the Lime scooter coming to life. The ‘sound walk’ experience of Seattle and then the accelerated version via electric scooter and via electric bicycle, all three in the same day, with the wind in my ears for both electric transports. The hubbub and closeness of Pike Place Market, vs the outside where sound could disperse. A slamming door. My IEMs going in and making things quiet.

Union Street, Seattle 08102019

This recording of Seattle has some good examples in it. Why? Because it is a bit busier, you get the sound of the pavement / sidewalk which has some gritty ‘grooves’ and rhythmic patterns on it in an unfolding in a linear pattern. Seattle for me symbolises an edgy, unpretentious, and visceral reaction to music and culture. But in the recording there are distant police sirens, pneumatic brakes of lorries, passing cars, there is the sound of other machinery & life taking place as I pass as I roll down the street. It creates a landscaped soundscape image. There is the connected, kinetic ‘stylus’ recording of the street heard through the scraping and dragging of the luggage bag: a writing in stone that is to be read as we pass, and is very direct; but with the ambient looser sounds of Seattle around it. The section of Seattle we find ourselves in – the central business district near to Belltown – is lively, busy, active. The ‘Space Needle’ is nearby, and I am rolling downhill, towards the famous Farmers Market. There is a pause for the pedestrian crossing (this is now a familiar instance and phrase of the metre of the luggage bag recording), we hear some other pedestrians and street ambience. Then I return back up the hill to the tourbus. It is midday and we have just played a lunchtime ‘showcase’ that was broadcast live. We will then still play the ticketed gig at the Crocodile later tonight.

Business is taking place on many strata in Seattle
Multiple rhythms, multiple modes of transport on the streets of Seattle
Some visual street rhythms, in a brutalist cityscape

Put The Needle On The Record #14 : Dallas : 02102019

The histories of architecture in the city are ‘scrolls’ waiting to be discovered and ‘read’ (Calvino, 1972). While investigating these scrolls through the practice of walking the streets of the city accompanied by wheeled luggage, I have found a ‘stylus’ for reading the pavement topography, the skin of the city. The wheels of the luggage bag connect directly with the built environment, rather like putting the needle on a record: a record that is city-sized and can be played in any direction. This practice presents a way of recording, mapping, and sonifying the streets of the city. 

Put The Needle On The Record was created by Loz Colbert. Find out more about the project here.

From my sound diary 02102019: Running earlier in the day I remember the sound of myself panting in the heat, my footsteps getting slower as I ran in the midday Texan sun. The sound of Elm street where the venue was, in which later on were lively street people and noisy bar music drifting out through open doors…

If Austin was lively for the locals, then Dallas was a lot louder overall. I’m glad to have made this recording during the night on the street outside the venue after the gig. There’s plenty of local ambience in the recording. Listen out for pool bars, pimped up cars and bikes, some fairly deep grooves in the street… Snatch of dialogue at the end:

“Where you goin…? You gotta sit down man…

No images or videos of the street today, just the sound.

Wheeled luggage on Elm Street, Dallas 02102019

Put The Needle On The Record #11 : Atlanta : 29092019

The histories of architecture in the city are ‘scrolls’ waiting to be discovered and ‘read’ (Calvino, 1972). While investigating these scrolls through the practice of walking the streets of the city accompanied by wheeled luggage, I have found a ‘stylus’ for reading the pavement topography, the skin of the city. The wheels of the luggage bag connect directly with the built environment, rather like putting the needle on a record: a record that is city-sized and can be played in any direction. This practice presents a way of recording, mapping, and sonifying the streets of the city. 

Put The Needle On The Record was created by Loz Colbert. Find out more about the project here.

From my sound diary that day 30092019: The whining metallic ringing persistent sound of the juicer in the juice bar. But I felt lucky to be treated to juice, what a gift at this point in the tour. Also the busy people sound, activity, community, culture… at the thrift store, looking for second hand clothes…

Today we are premiering my attempt to sync a Roland R-05 field recording with a video, shot with my iPhone at the same time. Both taken on 30th September 2019. It is the end of the day, the gig is finished, we are packed up and soon to leave, but I want to make a ‘recording’ of Atlanta road / pavement surface somehow for my diary. I start in the carpark, wandering out for a short walk, recording sound with R-05.. I then later start recording a section of video, which I later sync-ed together. So the film starts off as black… Some really interesting streets in Atlanta, as we leave the car park we intermittently run over rough concrete, smooth concrete, there are images spray-painted onto the floor, graffiti, litter, the shadows make interesting patterns on the floor, which is interspersed with metal utilities covers, tree plantings, stencilled names of bands / organisations like ‘FUNKWITT’… What histories lie in these streets…?

(Video starts black) A field recording and video sync together, Euclid Ave NE, near to Atlanta Variety Playhouse.

Put The Needle On The Record #10 : Asheville : 28092019

The histories of architecture in the city are ‘scrolls’ waiting to be discovered and ‘read’ (Calvino, 1972). While investigating these scrolls through the practice of walking the streets of the city accompanied by wheeled luggage, I have found a ‘stylus’ for reading the pavement topography, the skin of the city. The wheels of the luggage bag connect directly with the built environment, rather like putting the needle on a record: a record that is city-sized and can be played in any direction. This practice presents a way of recording, mapping, and sonifying the streets of the city. 

Put The Needle On The Record was created by Loz Colbert. Find out more about the project here.

From my sound diary 26092019: The scattering, atomised, sound of rain on the roof of the taxi, and on the windows of the bus, with high impact resonating on the metal stairs leading up to the venue. There was lightning, and a crack and flash indoors at the venue. Delayed sound. The sound of Moogs! (as we visited the factory that day). Air conditioning in the dressing room marauding the air space again… that grey windy drone always on seemingly.. the backdrop of sound you notice when things aren’t that great? Relief in the sound of water in the shower, and the self-conscious sound of my case as I move it around the bus.

Wheeled luggage ‘Just off the bus’ Asheville… 26092019
…a street that led to the Moog factory.

Put The Needle On The Record #6 : Brooklyn : 21092019

The histories of architecture in the city are ‘scrolls’ waiting to be discovered and ‘read’ (Calvino, 1972). While investigating these scrolls through the practice of walking the streets of the city accompanied by wheeled luggage, I have found a ‘stylus’ for reading the pavement topography, the skin of the city. The wheels of the luggage bag connect directly with the built environment, rather like putting the needle on a record: a record that is city-sized and can be played in any direction. This practice presents a way of recording, mapping, and sonifying the streets of the city. 

Put The Needle On The Record was created by Loz Colbert. Find out more about the project here.

No travel today, and no luggage bag. Instead, free-walking with written sound diary entry, and a gallery below.

From my sound diary that day: “Brooklyn/New York. Police cars, my footsteps on the sidewalk on my way to meet {x}. Cars travelling along the Brooklyn Queens Expressway above me, as I walk beneath it. Later in the day we walk across the Brooklyn Bridge, and there is the sound of car tyres making a ‘popping’ sound as they hit and roll over over a metal grid at high speed, which is about 2/3 of the way along the bridge. In the heat of the day, the air in the tyres is fully expanded, and so the popping sound resonates in the air. It creates a punctuated, repetitive and rhythmic sound over what would otherwise be a whitewash’ of constant car movement and engine noise below. Entering the Subway… the noise of the subway train arriving, filling the air, filling the entire space with sound. Rising up and out into Times Square, the voices of the crowds and the traffic… Finally after having read about it, admired it been inspired by it, I arrive within range of the sphere of sound that is Max Neuhaus’ ‘Times Square’ piece. I could have spent hours there… As an intervention, Neuhaus has covertly set a drone to emanate from beneath one of the metal ventilation grids of the street. Having created a level of frequency and of volume, the effect is that all sound around interplays with the drone. Different types of sound both merge and separate with it, in ever-changing and curious ways. Voices are over taken by traffic noise, which may then quickly recede to leave the drone exposed on its own. I enjoyed way that the piece creates both a ‘base’ and ‘bass’ level, so that any ‘natural’ sound happens around the intervention piece and interacts with it. Natural sound for this area might be: the sound of crowds, both moving and stationary; the sound of sirens – emergency services, police; the sound of individual conversations – tourists and ‘locals’; sounds of shouts, exclamations, traffic noise. I had to get back in time for the ‘instore’, so we took a taxi back to Brooklyn, the main thing noticeable was how the level of overall noise ‘calmed down’ on that side of the river. Manhattan was now distant. However there was much intense noise in sirens and horns and shouts when a fire started in the restaurant we were eating in… and I remember the crackle of material being consumed in the vivid and violent flames, just as I got out.

Put The Needle On The Record #4 : Montreal : 18092019

The histories of architecture in the city are ‘scrolls’ waiting to be discovered and ‘read’ (Calvino, 1972). While investigating these scrolls through the practice of walking the streets of the city accompanied by wheeled luggage, I have found a ‘stylus’ for reading the pavement topography, the skin of the city. The wheels of the luggage bag connect directly with the built environment, rather like putting the needle on a record: a record that is city-sized and can be played in any direction. This practice presents a way of recording, mapping, and sonifying the streets of the city. 

Put The Needle On The Record was created by Loz Colbert. Find out more about the project here.

Waking up to the school run 18092019

From my sound diary 18092019: Waking up in Canada, Montreal: the quiet of the residential street (from inside the sound proofing of the bus). the air brakes repeatedly flushing as the bus driver sought to park accurately. The sound of the coffee machine as it boiled water, and the frustrating silence of it as I worked out how to get it to make coffee. Crunch of cereal in a polystyrene bowl eaten with a plastic spoon when you are the first one up and the cereal is crunchy. Sounds of traffic passing by, and the horn of the bus that disagreed with the way our driver pulled out in front of him. Luggage bag: Started in the venue and went outside and around on the streets at night time, leading back up to our bus.

In this luggage bag recording you can hear me leaving the ‘The Fairmount’ venue, after the night’s gig. I pull across the empty venue floor in front of the empty stage, and then lumber down the stairs of the venue with my luggage bag. Once outside, I walk Park Avenue to make a ‘record’ of the streets near the venue. Street surfaces in Montreal appear to be structured and organised; the ‘sidewalks’ are interspersed with iron covers masking entry to underground utilities. There are also iron grids around the tree fixtures, that regularly punctuate the street line. There is a distinctly ‘municipal’ feel to the street environment; the experience during the day was welcoming and quaint. But strangely at night the street felt inhospitable, tense, the streets were practically empty and even had a hint of (unknown) danger to them. Now, the municipal qualities now seem odorous and mocking. In fact the sound of the idling tour bus engine is reassuring when I eventually return to it and get on…

Wheeled Luggage on Park Avenue, Montreal, after dark 18092019
Park Avenue, Montreal, Canada.