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


 

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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.

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Here’s what I have so far, starting 09-Sep-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 2
Remove keys from pocket 2
t-ch vocal sound 1
Melody fragment:
do re mi (base long short(. .. .)) 1
unspecified / can’t remember 4
Throat clearing
mmmP Mmm 7
Slight inhale 7
Slight exhale 4
Forced exhale (fuuuuuuuh, goes down about 20 cents) 1
Muttering to self 3
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!

Das Lied Ohne Eigenschaften

Sometimes The Idea comes to you forcefully, and does not relent until you start to pay attention to it. Here is a story of one such event:

,,Eigenschaften” is a German word meaning “characteristics”, “features”, or “qualities”. It is part of the vocabulary set I am learning. Not long after I had learned it, I saw a YouTube post titled “Der Mann Ohne Eigenschaften” (“The Man Without Characteristics”), which is simply a woman’s voice repeating the phrase. I thought this was interesting, so I made a recording of it; this recording found its way into a recent Listening Experience performance in London.

I rather liked the idea that the phrase connotes; I often feel anonymous, featureless, without characteristics. This doesn’t bother me. The smaller and less distinct I am, the larger and more interesting my world becomes. I was happy to leave this little discovery behind while moving onto the next thing I need to work on.

Then came The Idea again, this time more forcefully. While reading this evening an article about the decline of empires, I came across a reference to a book by Robert Musil titled… wait for it… here it comes… “The Man Without Qualities” (,,Der Mann Ohne Eigenschaften”). The book is long, unfinished, and I haven’t read it. However, the Wikipedia article provides enough of a basic explanation. One phrase in the article that caught my attention was “…search of a sense of life and reality but fails to find it.”.

Suddenly it occurred to me that phrase describes the listening experiences project: A search for form and expression, but a search that often yields anything but these two things.

The Song Without Characteristics.

Das Lied Ohne Eigenschaften. A fitting idea for these times.