‘GUNPOWDER & TREASON’

This is one of my early explorations in Sound Art from 2013. My idea was to create of piece of art using ‘found sound’ recorded during the day in a field where that evening a firework display was taking place and then add more samples during the actual display.  Daft as it might sound, what I wanted to achieve was to try to grab the stresses Guy Fawkes would have felt trying to blow up the Houses of Parliament and then getting burned at the stake and the contradictory pleasures we take from his failure today.  The daytime sounds layered into the piece catching Guy Fawkes’s feelings back on that day in 1605.   The night-time sounds are to capture excitement in the now.

Inspiration for the piece comes from Pierre Schaeffer’s 1948 ‘Etude aux Chemins de Fer’ study of railroad sounds and Musique Concrete generally.   Schaeffer’s coined the phrase “reduced listening” which means, ‘listening to a sound for its own sake, in itself, as a sound object’. I like that.

Anyway, I used the Musique Concrete compositional process when making this piece;

  • The recording of concrete acoustic sound (found sound).
  • The studying of selected fragments (sound objects) considering both the overall structure and the inner detail.
  • The realisation of the final piece through the structuring of modified sound objects.

The possibilities of what you can do with found sound are infinite.  I hope Schaeffer would have appreciated my piece for what it is although I think it more likely that he would be more interested in the technology I had at my disposal and what he could have done with it.

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Comments

27 comments on “‘GUNPOWDER & TREASON’”
  1. yassy says:

    Listening to the sound for its own sake ..,

    1. zoolonaudio says:

      That is one of the great observations concerning sound a lot of people never consider.

      1. yassy says:

        I think every sound is valuable in its individuality.

      2. zoolonaudio says:

        That’s a good observation, Lady Yasmin.

      3. yassy says:

        Thank you for observing that , Lord Zoolon.

  2. Speaking of sound… 🙂
    This is really interesting. I honestly did feel the tension and the contradiction.
    Thanks for the thought provocation!

    1. zoolonaudio says:

      Thank you. It was one of my early efforts at uni. Thankfully it made good grades – I didn’t even have to bribe anyone.

      1. Well done lol.

  3. An early effort? Look at the originality even then !

    1. zoolonaudio says:

      Thank you, Shey.

  4. sheldonk2014 says:

    I always love your stuff
    Isn’t it great how the creative mind works
    How we see and hear things different
    Great post
    Excellent work
    As Sheldon Always

    1. zoolonaudio says:

      Thank you for listening. It’s great we all have a different take on things I think.

  5. George, this is a remarkable and an emotional capture of sound, excellent. While listening to this track my mind went to some intense places. Do you think that Fawkes intentionally jumped, becaue of desperation? I can’t even imagine being able to stand, let alone climb a ladder knowing what’s coming next. Strong post, powerful presentation. ~ Feather & Rexie

    1. zoolonaudio says:

      Thank you Feather. I think they made Guy Fawkes go last, after his mates had been dealt with – just to make the whole thing more horrible for him than it would have been, although I’m not sure horrible is a thing that can be measured.

  6. Love the idea of being inspired by Guy Fawkes!

    1. zoolonaudio says:

      Thank you. I have no idea how or why I chose him.

  7. Akuokuo says:

    Powerful! Well done!!

    1. zoolonaudio says:

      Thank you for listening.

  8. Your found pieces are always really fascinating. I actually learned quite recently while in the UK that Guy Fawkes wasn’t even the real ringleader of the gunpowder plot. He was more like a scapegoat, poor guy.

    1. zoolonaudio says:

      I think back then the Protestants in power saw the Catholics as terrorists. From there it all went wrong.

  9. This is bloody cool, George. I see hear scraps of sound and see scraps of color: red streaked across a cheek, blue upon an eye. Orange upon a hand, moving, blasts of color showing blasts of motion, nothing continuous, like photos taken in a panic.

    1. zoolonaudio says:

      I’m glad you liked it. I remember it was a lot of fun to think up the circumstance of this project back when I made it. It’s interesting you got colours from it. Especially as I’m colour blind. I like it that you did.

      1. Ooooh, I’m always a little sad when I hear someone’s colour blind.
        But one of things I love about your music is that I never know what I’m going to see when I listen. Happily unexpected.

      2. zoolonaudio says:

        Thanks. Don’t worry about the colour blind thing though. It truly has never been a problem for me. That on the artwork for the songs on the new album I designed a sun and sky in what I’m told were shades of green doesn’t really matter to me – that’s just how I see it.

      3. There’s something uniqe, a little alien, unsettling, and true, about such a choice. Can’t wait to see. 🙂

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