A message from the editor:
This Sonic Constellation Compilation is part of the ongoing series: WAYBACK SOUND MACHINE, A CONSTELLATION OF SOUNDING TIME, which asks What can we gather from sounding the past–and with that in mind, what is the relationship between soundscape and sound design? This is Part One of a three part series-within-the-series, that shares various artistic forms, and some text, of/on sound from the past, and designing and composing sound for the past.
Artists and sound designers working with and considering sound from the past can create sonic compositions and databases that could help us to remember and feel our heritage. This is a fluid, virtual museum and living archive giving voice or space to listen to the past in the present, creating new experience and highlighting information within the complexity of our changing soundscapes. We need to sense the world, and we can enjoy sensing the world. Remembering that we aren’t limited to just knowing our place in it, but can feel our place in it, allows for a transference and embodiment of information that goes further, goes deeper, creates care and extension of thought beyond our perception of present. Creates empathy, expands, and vibrates the interior and exterior. A vibration that affects, and a vibration that joins. This is the gift these artist/authors are sharing….
Suzanne Thorpe – Sounding Time
Listen for a sound you heard in the past
Listen for a sound you will hear in the future
Voice your past and future sounds now, alternating
Repeat voicing for 85 seconds
Composed for Pauline Oliveros’ 85 birthday celebration and memorial. The event was curated and hosted by the International Institute for Critical Studies in Improvisation, June 1, 2017, and works exhibited at the Institute for Public Life and Ideas, McGill.
Diana Combo – Desacordo part 1
Desacordo é uma peça que se construiu a partir das gravações feitas pelo etnomusicólogo Michel Giacometti em várias zonas rurais de Portugal, nos anos 70, como parte da sua série televisiva “O Povo que Canta”. Algumas destas gravações são aqui combinadas com samples de discos de vinil e voz (Diana Combo junta a sua voz àquelas captadas por Michel Giacometti ou faz as suas próprias versões de músicas que ele deu a conhecer).
A distância espacial e temporal entre o agora e cada momento e situação geográfica correspondente aos vários fragmentos originais marca a discrepância fundamental que a combinação de vozes tenta superar, numa espécie de harmonia desconcertante. Em Desacordo, os mortos ressuscitam e os vivos podem regressar a um tempo perdido, pela sensação de poderem ter estado lá, com aqueles que outrora estavam vivos e que o Fado fez esquecer. Num contexto performativo, esta peça ganha as camadas extras de voz ao vivo e percussões.
Desacordo is a piece that departs from recordings made by the ethnomusicologist Michel Giacometti in various rural areas of Portugal, in the 70´s, as part of his TV series “O Povo que Canta” (The People who sing). Parts of these recordings are here combined with samples from vinyl records and voice (Diana Combo sings ‘along’ with those voices captured by Michel Giacometti or makes her own versions of songs that he gave to know, from the recordings he shared).
The spatial and temporal distance between the now and each moment and geographic situation corresponding to the various original fragments marks the fundamental discrepancy that the combination of voices tries to overcome, in a kind of disconcerting harmony. In Desacordo the dead are resurrected, and the living might return to a time lost, from the sensation of being able to have been there, with those that once were alive and that Fado made forget. When presented in a live situation, this piece gains the extra layers of live voice and percussion.
Helena Espvall – Meglio’s
Window display of long closed Meglio’s in south Philadelphia.
Film and music by Helena Espvall, april 2012.
Bonnie Jones –
And if I live a thousand lives I hope to remember one
The piece is constructed by manipulating in live performances a cassette player and a TDK EC-6M 6 minute looping cassette tape. The cassette player is used during the performance to create feedback by indiscriminately pressing the player’s controls (record, stop, forward, rewind). These six minutes are a recombinant document of numerous live performances over the past several years where I recorded, re-recorded, and erased the sounds of audio tape feedback, myself and other musicians.
And if I live a thousand lives I hope to remember one was commissioned for EVENING WILL COME: A MONTHLY JOURNAL OF POETICS (THE ART OF LOSING—ISSUE 58, OCTOBER 2015, curated by John Melillo and Johanna Skibsrud
Mads Bech Paluszwski – FERA_ID
Casked in concrete
Stretched in metal
The time gone
The things that has let go
Now is an imperative
Presence is a prerogative
The receding pulse
What does it mean to you
A lump on the road
In totem poles
Shall we dance
[vimeo 210587720 w=640 h=360] FERA_ID teaser from FERA_ID on Vimeo.
FERA_ID is an ongoing artistic research project in two steps, that investigates our relations towards the decaying industrial, physical structures in our contemporary society.
This is done by intervening with the monumental leftovers, the climaxes of modern industrial production facilities and exposing the results of the interventions to a target group in a ceremonial, performance setup.
Hilda Daniel – Echolullia
Echolullia is a chorus of lullabies. Beautiful but broken, here they represent the psychic violence of the Holocaust, of genocide, of any collective trauma. As songs to soothe and prayers for safety, lullabies are intimate evocations of what’s lost in these ravages of violence. “Echolullia” is derived from “echolalia”, a term used to describe sounds babies make to mimic those they’ve heard; or the involuntary repetition of another’s words (sometimes considered madness). Echo is used to represent this mimicry, as well as multiplicity and serialism – a multitude of voices, the collective, serial killing in war; and a corruption of time’s arrow – the past in the present, time tumbling in on itself like a memory of violence recurring. Here, breathing becomes more expressive than words and words are severed, bits displaced as specters repeating, representing each life severed in the multiplied violence of genocide. Evoking the emotion and cataclysmic disruption of order and meaning (the rise of linguistic philosophies after the War) and the emotional disorder of genocides, Echolullia’s heart is in its aftermath: the echo of violence resonating outward in ruptures of the psyche passed on through generations. A chaos of loss remains in every lull and lullaby, it’s there in every breath.
Technical information: I invited friends who are mothers to send me recordings of themselves singing songs they’d sung to their babies (lullabies). The singers include Regina Drenik; Rachael Daniel, my sister, whose experience of the Holocaust comes from stories of our parents in WWII Japanese concentration camps for Jews in Singapore and the military occupation of the island; Linda Nagaoka, whose family was interned in US camps during the War; and Joanne Levine, whose work involves counseling Holocaust survivors. Sounds used include traditional American and French folk songs; a music box playing the melody from Johannes Brahms, op.49 Nr 4 and a 1915 recording of the song performed by Ernestine Schumann-Heink (1861-1936); Louisa May Alcott’s poem, “Lullaby”, read by Ezwa in Belgium in October, 2009; and other sources in the public domain. Sounds of recording technology itself are included. Some recordings of technology were manipulated to mimic human voices, derangement, loss of innocence, and some human voices to mimic (warfare) technology. Sounds were modified for aesthetic, psychological and physiological effect.
Bonnie Jones – untitled (for Cynthia Gray)
untitled (for Cynthia Gray) was commissioned by Mike and Linda Aubry Bullock’s exhibition EARS BACK, EYES FORWARD: VIDEO SHORTS FROM MUSICIANS AND OTHER LISTENERS – presented at Vox Populi Gallery February 6 – March 1, 2015.
Hilda Daniel – Red Rocked (Blue Moon)
Red Rocked was originally reworked from bits of soundtrack to video recorded on audio cassette tapes*, featuring ravaged film-like footage of a highway drive alongside Red Rock Desert near the Nevada California border, and recordings of Elvis’s 1956 version of Rogers and Hart’s standard, Blue Moon. The audio tracks themselves are now haunted by the manipulations of the original video, re-recorded on moribund technologies several times in varying speeds and motion – and bear (and bare) the intermittent tracking, dragging beat of the now phantom video, a mad repetition, fluffs of windblown sound. Repetition here is serialized in form, layers of various times like broken cubist planes, with spectered beats, tumbling in on itself – aesthetically, in narrative and conceptually – playing out a slow blur of motion in perpetual struggle and lonely, unsatisfied yearning. Creating a kind of memory field recording, an ethnographic soundscape, the iconic song, whose pervasiveness spanned decades of definitive social and historical periods, and this seminal version of it by Elvis Presley are very much a part and picture of the larger time/landscape: the promise of a once seemingly endless frontier embodied in places like Red Rock Desert, and in this piece – as a memory of its utopian sweep and reverb of its disappointment.
(The song’s yearning, luring, mocking promise and the stuttering bits of circular narrative in the piece have a poignant contemporary resonance in light of the stuttered, halted, circular passages of immigration and the currents of thinking about it. Elvis’s haunted version of the song sounds more like a song remembered than a song heard, like the depth of field recorded in a migrant’s eye, and the nationalistic nostalgia (of the past and present) which aspire to a future based on a past that never was. In this way, the aspirations in the piece are perpetual; and in the ravages of time on its technologies and the specificities in the surrounding landscape, the piece continues to shift and evolve, with the slowness of epics and the velocity of dreams.)
*(via the Fisher Price Pixel2000 “toy” camera, which also records the sound of its own motor recording)
“Nostalgia for an age yet to come”
-Pete Shelley, Buzzcocks
Diana Combo – Desacordo part 2
Part 2, arriving soon…here now
Bonnie Jones is a Korean-American improvising musician, poet, and performer working with electronic sound and text. She performs solo and in numerous collaborative music, film, and visual art projects. Bonnie’s work explores the fluidity and function of electronic noise (field recordings, circuit bending) and text (poetry, found, spoken, visual). Her art seeks opportunities within different mediums to expose the fluid nature of individual identity, history, form, and meaning. As an arts organizer, Bonnie was a founding member of the Transmodern Festival and CHELA Gallery and is currently a member of the High Zero Festival collective. In 2010, she co-founded TECHNE https://technesound.org/, an organization that introduces young female-identified women to technology-focused art making, improvisation, and community collaboration. TECHNE’s programs are delivered through partnerships with grassroots organizations that share an aligned commitment to racial and gender equity.
Bonnie received her MFA at the Milton Avery Graduate School of the Arts, Bard College. She has received commissions from the London ICA and Walters Art Museum and has presented her work extensively at institutions in the US, Mexico, Europe and Asia, including the LA MOCA, Museo Universitario Arte Contemporáneo, and REDCAT. Her collaborative sound works have been shown at the Swiss Institute, Whitney Museum, and Hunter College. Bonnie was the recipient of the Foundation for Contemporary Arts Grants to Artists Award (2018).
Born in 1977 in South Korea she was raised on a dairy farm in New Jersey, and currently resides in Baltimore, Maryland. https://bonnie-jones.com/
Diana Combo explores sound and music in many creative, often multidisciplinary contexts.
Moving in and out of academia (undergraduate degree in Sound and Image, student of the Master’s degree in Music Arts), in the country and abroad, the innumerable sonic and performative experiences have crossed the most intuitive and DIY knowledge with theory and learning specifics to each form of expression. The result is the consolidation of an experimental approach to sound that has manifested itself in turntablism and sound appropriation practices, editing and sound design, composition and interpretation, installation and video, among others. In concert halls, in theater or cinema, in residences and workshops, solo or in collaboration, the boundaries between creative areas and between the individual and the collective have been constantly questioned and diluted in her work.
Currently, she works as a music programmer at Teatro do Bairro Alto, in Lisbon, and is a student of the yoga teacher training course of CPY (Centro Português de Yoga).
Helena Espvall started to play electric guitar as a bored teenager in northern Sweden, and went on to take cello lessons and was never bored again. After having played in rock bands, a silent movie orchestra, an Arabian ensemble and being inspired to play free improvised music by a shocking Eugene Chadbourne performance, she went on to live in the US between 2000-2012, where she performed with dancers, recorded and toured with folk psych band Espers, sang Swedish traditional songs, played concerts at the Philadelphia Fringe Festival, the High Zero Festival of improvised music in Baltimore, MD, at the Improvised and Otherwise Festival in Brooklyn, NY, at Big Sur experimental festival in California, and Terrastock among others. Espvall has received grants for artist residencies in Mojacar, Spain and at CESTA in Tabor, Czech Republic, and has been the recipient of an Individual Arts Award from Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. She has worked with Lukas Ligeti, Fursaxa, Damon & Naomi, Bert Jansch, Masaki Batoh (Ghost), Vashti Bunyan, Marissa Nadler, Pauline Oliveros and many more. She now resides in Lisbon where she has done solo performances at Out.Fest, ZDB, Irreal and Damas, as well as collaborated with musicians like Vítor Rua, David Maranha, Norberto Lobo, Margarida Garcia, Manuel Mota, Sei Miguel, and Fala Mariam, among others.
Hilda Daniel is a multimedia artist based in New York City (from Singapore and Los Angeles). Her work has been exhibited in galleries and curated festivals and events in New York, London, Berlin, Oslo and other cities in Europe, US, UK, Canada and Mexico, including curated sound events at Rathmines Library, Dublin, Lincoln Center Library for Performing Arts, Soundfjord London, The British Library and included in the Museum of Modern Art’s curated SoundCloud site for its exhibition on John Cage’s 4’33”, in screenings at Anthology Film Archives and the Oslo Screen Festival, among others, as a finalist at SXSWclick and the international competition of the Sofia Queer Forum, broadcast on radio and cable television, and reviewed in The New York Times, Performance Art Journal, New Art Examiner and other publications.
Mads Bech Paluszewski-Hau (1977): a danish sound-artist, composer, musician, performer and cultural producer. He is currently working within genres and themes such as resonance, futurism, free-improvisation, electro-acoustic, music concrete, no-input mixing and feedback systems. His work is inspired from animistic rituals and thinking, where he uses sound as a medium to reveal life and behavioural characteristics within objects, spaces and systems, with a strong outreach towards context, audience, situation and other immediate plateaus for artistic exposure.
He is a self-taught artist with a master degree in Human geography and Performance Design. During the recent years, he has been honored by several grants, as well as been commissioned to either reenact or develop new pieces for art- and cultural institutions, festivals and the like. He is a member of the danish composers society. https://reanimationresearch.org/
Suzanne Thorpe is a composer, performer, researcher and educator. She creates site-situated sound compositions using a variety of media and technology, and performs electroacoustic flute expanded with digital and analog electronics. She is also a Deep Listening instructor, having studied in depth with American Composer and Deep Listening Founder Pauline Oliveros. Thorpe’s work draws upon acoustic ecology, soundscape, land art, and improvisation, and her research intersects with feminist materialisms, systems theory, and environmental ethics. For several years, Thorpe has situated listening as the primary building block for musicking and research. This yielded a series of pieces that evolved with environments and their behaviors, that also investigated ways in which sound connects us to the material world.
Thorpe has performed and exhibited her work internationally, with a discography that features over 20 recordings. She has been the recipient of the Frog Peak Collective Award for innovative research in technology, and grants from Harvestworks Digital Media Foundation, New Music USA, and the MAP Fund. Having earned her MFA at Mills College in Electronic Music & Media, Thorpe is currently a Ph.D. Candidate at University California, San Diego, and co-founder of TECHNE, an educational initiative empowering young women through creative-driven technology projects. http://www.suzannethorpe.com/