Listening Experience #19

Capitulation Risk

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(image source: https://www.silverdoctors.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/SurrenderFlagCapitulate001 [dot] jpg)

There is an expression in German, which roughly translated says “If you do not struggle for what you want, you can not regret what you have lost.” With so much changing in the world right now, changing in ways that affect all of us, I’ve been thinking lately about the idea of “capitulation”, of giving up before a goal is reached. My guess is that we are all being tested by circumstances, and we will all learn how far we are willing to go in order to get where we want to be. All of us are at risk of capitulation, of giving up before we should. Our ability to manage this risk, this temptation to give up, will determine where we go.

Recently I have had a new earworm, the song “Is That All There Is“, written by Jerry Lieber and Mike Stoller and famously sung by Peggy Lee. One takeaway from this song is that all of the big, seemingly insurmountable, obstacles that life presents to us inevitably end up seeming a lot less awful after they have passed. Things that make us want to give up turn out to be just another day in the life. If that’s the case, we should just keep going on and live our lives happily. To not give up, to not capitulate.

I took the recording of Peggy Lee’s performance and ran it through my usual process of carving up sound material; this is a great way to deal with an earworm. Much of what resulted from this carving process ended up in segments two and three of this episode. Hence the title “Capitulation Risk”. I tried to release the hopefulness that lives within this song.


The first segment of this episode is an edit of a reading from “Walden”, by Henry David Thoreau. The reading is of chapter four, “Sounds”. I like this segment because it is a form of sound walk, created before recording technology was available. I edited the reading to clarify and enhance the sense that the author is describing a sound walk through the environment in which the book is based. The reading is sourced at this link.

The second and third segments are audio experiments with a new means of extracting and manipulating sound that I recently discovered. This is where the Peggy Lee edits live.

The final segment is a recording of a Listening Experience performance at Spektrum in Berlin.


Capitulation Risk segments are available on Bandcamp:

Listening Experience # 19 – Capitulation Risk


Listening Experience is aired and archived by Resonance Extra.

This is a link to Resonance Extra
This is a link to Listening Experience


 

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Listening Experience #18

DAT Quad 2018

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DAT Quad 2018 was a 24 hour durational performance event curated by the team at Noiseberg. The venue was State Studio. It featured performances on three levels of the venue. The top level and the basement level were both set up for quad audio playback.

These recordings make use of listening objects created during the performance, as well as listening objects which were created for the event, but not used.

The first segment of the show is a recording of a real-time performance of The QuadTool. The second segment is an attempt to take the strategy of Brian Eno’s “Discrete Music” and implement it in quadraphonic sound (I added some material from another performance about halfway through. Why not).

Both of these segments are stereo reductions of the quad source material.

Here is the Event website

Here is the Venue Website


DAT Quad 2018 segments are available on Bandcamp:

Listening Experience # 18 – DAT Quad 2018


Listening Experience is aired and archived by Resonance Extra.

This is a link to Resonance Extra
This is a link to Listening Experience


 

Listening Experience #17

geist – blur

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This episode of Listening Experience is titled “geist – blur”. It began a few months ago as an episode for this show, but along the way I found a few other interesting ideas to base some shows on. Now there is a space for this idea in an episode.

“geist – blur” is a reaction to recent life in Berlin, without any overt narrative.


Excerpts of “geist – blur” segments are available on Bandcamp:

https://mattburnett.bandcamp.com/album/listening-experience-17-geist-blur


Listening Experience is aired and archived by Resonance Extra.
This is a link to Resonance Extra
This is a link to Listening Experience


 

Passing Sounds

Often, when passing someone while walking along the street, I have an urge to scratch my face. Other people do this as well. I don’t know why, and as a result I’ve started paying attention to this minor phenomena. There is probably a name for this phenomena, but at the moment I am too distracted to look for it.

While paying attention to this, I began to notice that some people make sounds as they pass. Small, short sounds usually made vocally. This is interesting: A new sound world that I never noticed until now. I wonder why people do this.

Are these sounds intentional? Instinctual? What motivates them? Do these sounds communicate something, and if so, what? Is there a repertoire/grammar for these sounds?

Are these sounds part of some sort of avoidance instinct we have? Are these sounds motivated by the same thing that motivates so many people to stare at their smartphones?

Right now it’s only an idea. Perhaps something more substantive will result if I try to organise this idea a bit more…

I think I will start keeping a log of these sounds, as I notice them along the street. No idea if this will end up being anything useful, but for now I’m curious if there is some sort of taxonomy of these sounds, and if they could be of any use in a sound project.

====

Here’s what I have so far, collected between 09-Sep-2018 and 03-Dec-2018:

Sound Number of times encountered
Silence / “default” (whatever incidental sound is being made, ie clothes rustling, etc.) So far, overwhelmingly frequent
Footscuff 2
Cough 1
Remove keys from pocket 2
t-ch vocal sound 1
Melody fragment:
do re mi (base long short(. .. .)) 1
indistinct 13
Throat clearing
mmmP Mmm 10
Slight inhale 2
Slight exhale 7
Forced exhale (fuuuuuuuh, goes down about 20 cents) 1
Muttering to self 12
Hmm (downward pitch) 1
Spoken
something like “De-Ne” 1
something like “mal” 1
something like “zum Pass” 1

Listening Experience #16

a rock expends no effort in being still, but a person does

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This episode of Listening Experience is titled “a rock expends no effort in being still, but a person does”. This title comes from page 29 of a book by Jennie Gottschalk titled “experimental music since 1970”.

This phrase jumped out at me when I read it, and immediately crystallised several ideas floating around in the back of my mind. One of these ideas was an ongoing interest in a challenge presented by the work 4’33” by John Cage, namely: What do we do as listeners once we have found the Silence that Cage’s piece seeks to illustrate? Do we simply sit in its presence, or are we called to act? If we are called on to act, how should we do that? What is the relationship between this Silence and the act of listening?

This piece seeks to illustrate the boundary between Silence (sometimes construed as an absence of will or action) and listening (sometimes construed as an individual act or embodiment of purpose/will).

A rock has no will; it simply exists. A listener, on the other hand, has a will and can’t help but assign meaning to things and events. A listener can’t help but act.


This piece is an attempt to identify the boundary between non-action and action in the context of sound-making. It is organised into what are called Sittings. A Sitting can be considered a version or a performance of the piece. This recording is of the sixth Sitting, for which I made use of an instrument created by Derek Holzer called the “Macumbista Sound Box”.

This Sitting was created by placing a small rock on one Sound Box and setting the volume to a point where feedback began to emerge. I used a second sound box, also with a rock placed on it at the verge of feedback, and attempted to hold perfectly still. It quickly became apparent that holding perfectly still was not possible.

The resulting recording is a document of the dynamic between an absence of effort expended by a rock and the presence of effort expended by a person.


You can find out more about


Listening Experience is aired and archived by Resonance Extra.
This is a link to Resonance Extra
This is a link to Listening Experience


 

Listening Experience #15

Our parents told us to always remember home, the evening star

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This episode of Listening Experience is based on “our parents told us to always remember home, the evening star”. This project is an ongoing internet collaboration curated by Elizabeth Veldon.

our parents told us to always remember home, the evening star” is a facebook group.
here is the link.

Sort of like an internet mixtape. Go there and add something.


Curator Elizabeth Veldon writes:

“i discussed tonight the possibility of creating work based around the title ‘our parents told us to always remember home, the evening star’ and the image NASA released of earth as a bright, starlike object in the evening sky of mars.

the proposition, in more detail, is as follows:

the title of the works should be ‘our parents told us to always remember home, the evening star’

artists are free to interpret the title and photograph any way they like

the works must be published by the artists themselves and each work must provide links back to the other works using the title so that we build up a web of links

The idea is to provide a hope for the future, to imagine the experiences of children born on a future mars colony. the project is designed to extend past those invited and everyone who takes part is encouraged to ask others they know to produce their own work”


Listening Experience is aired and archived by Resonance Extra.
This is a link to Resonance Extra
This is a link to Listening Experience


Here’s everything at this point in time:

Elizabeth Veldon

https://elizabethveldon.bandcamp.com/album/our-parents-told-us-to-always-remember-home-the-evening-star

Matt Burnett

https://mattburnett.bandcamp.com/track/our-parents-told-us-to-always-remember-home-the-evening-star

the gasping

https://soundcloud.com/user-544711359/our-parants-always-told-us-to-remember-home-the-evening-star

Anthony Osborne

https://anthonyosborne.bandcamp.com/album/our-parents-told-us-to-always-remember-home-the-evening-star

Spike Brown

https://spikebrown.bandcamp.com/album/our-parents-told-us-to-always-remember-home-the-evening-star

The Noisettes

https://thenoisettes.bandcamp.com/track/our-parents-told-us-to-always-remember-home-the-evening-star-2

Caroline McKenzie

https://carolinemckenzie.bandcamp.com/album/our-parents-told-us-to-always-remember-home-the-evening-star

Mark Williams

https://barycenter.bandcamp.com/track/our-parents-told-us-to-always-remember-home-the-evening-star

Jeff Brown

https://jeffbrown1.bandcamp.com/track/our-parents-told-us-to-always-remember-home-the-evening-star

Zachary Corsa

https://nonconnahordeath.bandcamp.com/album/our-parents-told-us-to-always-remember-home-the-evening-star

Esme Louise

https://penancestare.bandcamp.com/track/our-parents-told-us-to-always-remember-home-the-evening-star

Nicholas Langley

https://hznicklangley.bandcamp.com/album/our-parents-told-us-to-always-remember-home-the-evening-star

Liv Radigue

https://livradigue.bandcamp.com/track/our-parents-told-us-to-always-remember-home-the-evening-star

Jakob Rehlinger

https://babelmusik.bandcamp.com/track/our-parents-told-us-to-always-remember-home-the-evening-star

Yves Malone

https://soundcloud.com/yves-malone/our-parents-told-us-to-always-remember-home-the-evening-star/s-UQE7E

* Story by Doug Sharp *


This episode of Listening Experience is based on “our parents told us to always remember home, the evening star”. This project is an ongoing internet collaboration curated by Elizabeth Veldon.

our parents told us to always remember home, the evening star” is a facebook group.
here is the link.

Sort of like an internet mixtape. Go there and add something.


Listening Experience is aired and archived by Resonance Extra.
This is a link to Resonance Extra
This is a link to Listening Experience


 

2018 so far:

Jan – Oslo, Copenhagen, Hamburg, Berlin
Feb/March – Still sorting some things out. Maybe final mix the film project and do some sort of participatory installation thing.
April – Johannesburg, South Africa
 
Plus the usual work with the radio show, and my endless sound obsessing.
 
I’m very happy to add some shows in Berlin at any time. Let me know, and I will go!