CAPTURING WAVES & NUISANCES

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So, it’s the first decent day of the year in South East England. Blue skies, a double-figure temperature and high tide at 11am. All good. I’m walking the coastline to a place where the sea wall juts out toward the beach, so I can capture the sounds of the waves for some sound art I’m working on. Ambient sounds as they rush across the pebbles toward the wall; angry sounds as the waves lose their temper when smashing into it – like the wall is border control denying immigrant waves access. Topical. I might reflect that in my art.  All’s still good. No people about; no annoying breeze, even the gulls are busy someplace else. Nothing to pollute the recordings I’m getting through my hand-held stereo-recorder.  What I don’t need now is an interruption.

Then it happens. It always does. I felt his presence before I saw him. A little old bloke taking his ancient West Highland Terrier out for a walk. “What you doing, son?”  My stock thought, “Baking a cake, what does it looks like?” or “What’s it to you?” per usual, I think but I don’t say. I like polite mode. I can’t help what I think, but I can help what I say, so I say, “I’m capturing to sound of the waves.” He says, “Don’t be daft, you can’t ‘capture’ sound.” I say, “OK then, I’m recording them – does that help?  He says, “What you want to do that for?” I say, “I’m going to manipulate the sounds for some sound art.” He says, “You can’t make art out of sound.” I say, “I can.” He walks off mumbling, “Whatever next.” I stay where I am mumbling, “B******s”.

Anyway, a 2-minute number called Punchdrunk, the last track from my ‘Rainbows End’ album.  I deliberately composed this one to give the words a soft setting even though I was trying to make a point. I hope it works for you.

PUNCHDRUNK

Wings without feathers

Feet without shoes

Hearts without heartstrings

That’s why I’m singing the Blues

 

You’re out of love

Not here to judge

Big mouths and morons

Control

 

This punch-drunk planet

Keeps on spinning

You ain’t seen nothing yet

Just wait till this war begins

 

You’re out of love

Not here to judge

Big mouths and morons

Control

 

Punch for the sake of a brawl

Send shockwaves into our homes

You ain’t seen nothing yet

Take out some kingdoms when you’re bored

 

Wings without feathers

Feet without shoes

Hearts without heartstrings

That’s why I sing the blues

As a thank you to the gulls who stayed away yesterday, a number from Eels (Mark Everett) called ‘Birds’. He and I, like most people like birds. It’s a great song, great lyricist;

Apart from Eels – Copyright © 2017 Zoolon Audio.  All rights reserved.  Unauthorized copying, reproduction, hiring, lending, public performance and broadcasting prohibited.

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37 Comments

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    1. That’s a phrase my mother chucks at me all the time. I guess it’s stuck in my head for situations when the obvious should be obvious. I’m guessing the old bloke never saw the obvious – but then again, why should he, in fairness.

    1. Thanks. I have to admit his appreciation as to what I was doing was zero, but maybe he did just want a chat. Maybe I should have asked for his thoughts on a random statue installation just down from where I was. It’s of an Eskimo slaughtering a seal – it has no relevance to the town at all. I’m getting to see it’s point, but I bet the old boy never will.

    1. Thanks. You’re probably right. I guess he might have been lonely. It’s just when you’re into something and get interrupted I miss also miss the obvious. Have a great Sunday yourself.

  1. Hi George, it’s nice to read that you were able to capture sounds of the waves. I’m looking forward to hearing how you manipulate and use the sounds. ‘Heart without heartstrings’, is such a powerful phrase, a strong commentary contained within your lyric, wonderful. Enjoy the double-figure temperature while it lasts. ~ Mia

    1. Thanks, Mia. I did end up with a metaphorical bagful of sounds in the end. I started out looking for just the ambient, but now I’ve got the angry as well, this piece might get a little darker. I might, or might not, use the old blokes voice as a sample as well. Enjoy your day, Mia.

      1. You’re welcome, George. Using the captured voice could most certainly add a dark element to the piece. Apologies for the duplicate comment, odd my comments disappeared after posting them. Thank you, enjoy the rest of your day too.

  2. I consider myself to be somewhat aged but heck I can grasp the concept of capturing the sounds of the waves, the water, the sea. Very nice. And i really like the lyrics too. One of the things I like about your blog is that I can hear things that I do not hear other places and am not usually exposed to. I am grateful so carry on recording and recreating/!

  3. I could totally see that kind of interaction around here, only with cheery, blank politeness. “Capturing sound? Oh, that sounds nice, dear. Here have a nice cookie bar and some milk. Don’t stay out too late, now!” Ugh, this is something I have to write about some day. One of my deepest fears: succumbing to Midwestern Bland Blight.
    Sweet rhythm on this one, by the by. xxxxx

    1. I suppose he proved the point, namely that if people don’t understand or have never heard of sound art it makes it hard for the artists to make a career out of it. Most people don’t understand anything that isn’t centre ground. It’s odd but dogs and cats seem to get it!

  4. I was there on that beach , heard the waves , saw that guy and the expressions he done , you set up the scene so well. I felt your unease too , I wanted to tell him to go away , it’s in my mind as I write !
    A great verse was born out of all of that ! It’s a swinging title too.damn catchy ! Feels like you want to read the verse again and again
    I really wouldn’t want to miss this !
    I am happy , happy.

    1. Thanks, Yassy. It’s funny that I seem to take any place I record at as a place I ‘own’ when in fairness to others, it belongs to everyone. The things we do for our art! Odd really. Anyway, thanks again, Lady Yasmin aka Yassy.

    1. Thanks. I wanted this number to be understated yet pack a punch with its words. A juggling act as not all angry songs need to be ‘angry’ in order to get the message across.

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