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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