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::: sounds :::

::: echo surveys :::

::: murmer ::: echo surveys :::

::: murmerings ::: web ::: 2014 ::: download :::

in 2012 i began a new series of performances which i call echo surveys. the premise is straightforward: each is entirely unique and site-specific; all sounds heard are either produced live from materials found in the space, or have been prerecorded there during a pre-performance reconnaissance visit. this is an attempt to retain a specific and direct connection with each space and each audience, and to retain a sense of risk associated with each performance.

these first three experiments occurred during a visit to the eastern united states in the fall of that year. each had it’s particularities: the first was in the galleria of the baker center for the arts at muhlenberg college, in allentown, where i was given permissions to ‘play’ the harry bertoia kinetic sculptures which are on display there. the second was in my hometown, boston, where a very sparse performance space proved to be quite a challenge for finding sound sources. and the third, at bruce tovsky’s space in the brooklyn navy yards, expanded outwards, as the exceptional environment and visual collaboration with bruce led us to make our initial recordings, not just in the performance space, but all around the navy yard. for the performance bruce’s film was screemed, accompanied by found sounds from the yard mixed with the live playing of found materials in the space.

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while usually i am not partial to publicly releasing recordings of my live performances (as they generally don’t make sense without the immediate connection to space and audience), i like having the ability to compare these three very different outcomes of this experiment, and to draw attention to bruce’s great filmwork. you can hear the three performances streaming above (sound only), or watch bruce’s film with my sound below.

“BROOKLYN NAVY YARD came about incredibly quickly. When I heard that Patrick, who is based in Estonia, was coming through Brooklyn on a brief U.S. tour I knew that we had to do something together at my space in the Brooklyn Navy Yard. Patrick’s work is very much an exploration of site-specific sound and sound as definition of space, and the Navy Yard was the perfect urban subject; a sprawling 150-year-old Navy Yard undergoing a transformation into a modern industrial village on the Brooklyn waterfront. I myself am both a life-long phonographer and visual artist, and have done many pieces that explore the visual and sonic resonance of urban spaces. I had long wanted to do a piece in and about the Yard and this seemed to be the perfect opportunity. Due to our tight schedules we decided to spend one day gathering material in the Yard and then present it in a live sound with video performance in the studio. I led us through the Yard and Patrick chose specific places to sonically document, using both standard microphones and large contact mics. I set up my camera positions, sometimes including him recording or listening, sometimes not. We had the freedom to roam as we pleased – as a tenant I have full access within the Yard. After several hours of accumulation, we each spent the night and next day organizing and editing what we had gathered. The next evening we reconvened at the Yard and gave the performance: Patrick mixed sounds drawn from the previous day with explorations of the studio itself for sound potential – he had positioned several contact mics on various structural elements in the space, and used them to haunting effect. The groans and wails echoed the sounds created by the huge cranes used in the Yard’s dry-dock facilities. I screened the edit I had made of the prior days outing on a large 6’ x 8’ video screen I keep in the space. We had a capacity audience – 30 or so people – and as is our usual method had a post-performance discussion, which this time was particularly rich and informative. I record the sound at these events with both direct feeds from each performer and with a custom-made binaural dummy head, and then do a balance between them in the final mix – often in a 4.1 mix. I later combined the video piece with the mixed audio to create this standalone piece, an encapsulation of our effort to capture and examine a slice of this historic, fascinating space.” – bruce tovsky, 2014

::: raadio mälu :::

recently luís antero, curator of the green field recordings label, and producer of the radio show o colecionador de sons (the sound collector), invited me to produce a piece to celebrate one of the last broadcasts of his show before he leaves on an extended hiatus. it was an honor, and i took the opportunity to explore an idea that had recently come up. the resulting work, entitled raadio mälu (radio memory in estonian), debuted on portuguese radio on the the 13th of may, 2013, and was then rebroadcast as an edition of framework:afield on the 19th.

::: patrick mcginley ::: raadio mälu :::

a few months ago i found a small portable radio, dating probably from the 1980′s and made during soviet times, is a secondhand shop in the small village of mooste in southeast estonia. i have a thing for old radios, so i bought it, and it got me to thinking about the place of radio, not in this present world of internet streaming, podcasting and so forth, but in our past, and in our memories. i know i have distinct memories of radio, radio stations, djs, events, situations, and even places that i relate to radio from my own past, growing up in boston, during my student days in western massachusetts, all the way through my years at the resonance fm studios in london, and my attempts now to listen to estonian radio to improve my language skills. i wondered if this particular radio, alien to me but possibly familiar to estonians, might trigger memories for those around me, and i decided to find out.

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i composed this piece from four elements: memories, stories and observations from a handful of estonians, related upon being presented with this particular radio for the first time; sonic material produced by the radio itself, both when tuned to and tuned between stations; field recordings from the surrounding landscape, vibrations in the immediate airwaves that have carried these radio signals; and archive material from estonian radio’s past, both in and before the country’s soviet era.

the estonians interviewed were given the choice of speaking in their native language or in english; two chose estonian, and two english. i have left the estonian language untranslated in the audio itself – much of what is being communicated can be heard in the tones of their voices, and through shared vocabulary. that said, i am providing a written translation for the estonian language sections below.

::: Alfred ::: 09:22-15:29 :::
It is, yes, made in USSR. It’s from Russian times. But with this one you couldn’t listen to Voice of America. This gets mediumwave and longwave. For Voice of America we used shortwave, 25, 31, and 49 meter bands. But this is… yes, with this one it should be possible… wait, let me check. It’s stuck in the bag. “Selga”; you see? It’s just as I thought, Selga. Produced in Latvia. Latvia made things like this. But let’s see which wavelengths it has – should be mediumwave and longwave. I had one just like this; I used to listen to German music with it. They played very good German music, on mediumwave. And it works? Yes, it’s got mediumwave and longwave. I used to listen to broadcasts in English on shortwave. We also had one of these Riga radios at home. They made a lot of these in Riga. All kinds of different machines. And then we also had a Radiotehnika, I used that one a lot too. I couldn’t speak any English yet, but i just listened to how good it sounded. It has such a nice timbre. Mother also used to listen to English radio – or which language did you listen to? Did you listen to Estonian? Mother doesn’t remember anymore which language she listened to. But yes, there was really good music. So this is from the Radiotehnika factory – RRR: Rigas Radiotehnika Rubnika. RRR, the factory’s mark. “Rigas Radiotehnika Rubnika” in Latvian. Selga 405. 29 rubles. Radio receiver. Look how well it’s preserved. Still working. It’s old already, probably 30, 35 years at least. Quality mark; this is a quality mark. SSSR. Here you choose longwave or mediumwave. It works well. ah, German. German? ah, one of them is speaking German, the other English. It works very well. Italiano – no, maybe not. No, I don’t know. Still English probably. Italian? He’s probably talking about the pope, who’s giving up his position. Is he giving up his position? It’s very sensitive, receiving very well. Don’t know what language that is. And what langauge is that? Ha, Big Brother language. Mine was light colored and had a colored bag as well. And a strap, like this one. This is of course newer than mine was. But that one I think broke. I don’t remember what was wrong with it.

::: Mari ::: 51:18-55:09 :::
It’s a radio, made in the Soviet Union. It has a black leather cover, a bag that has a strap that can be adjusted to different lengths, so that you can, for example, put it over your shoulder on the street and take it with you. Very comfortable. The bag has a nice soft texture on the inside. It has two snaps that you can close it with. The radio itself is rectangular, with two buttons: one for the volume, the other maybe for the frequency. The bag has one round hole, through which you can see the frequency indicator. And then there are many small round holes, to let the sound through. On the back there are some more holes. I don’t know what these can be for. Maybe for the radio to get ventilation. And then there is one hole through which headphones can be attached. And there is one more button with which, probably, different wavelengths – longwave, shortwave – can be selected; you can choose. Many words have been embossed on the bag, for example “made in USSR”. The radio is totally rectangular; the button is round and the speaker part is rectangular with small holes. The brand is Selga. The words on the indicator are green, and the pointer is red, and a bit transparent. On the indicator there are numbers: 1.5; 2; 3; 4; 5.6; 6.5; 8; 10 and 15. On the back is written Radio Prijemnik. Selga-405, type APP 4. Cost 29 rubles.

::: free mp3 release, ačgārnā aizcirtne :::

latvia’s molmika recordings has just made available a new 2 hour mp3 release, available for free download. ačgārnā aizcirtne was a private live session recorded in riga in 2010. very little editing has been done. enjoy, and please share!

::: bērnu rīts, murmer, toms šiklovs, antireality :::
::: ačgārnā aizcirtne :::

::: molmika ::: mp3 ::: 2013 ::: download :::

live session at molmika base, riga, february 9th 2010

d.i.y. string instruments, motors, tapes, reed organ, wind instruments, found objects, frequency generator, jew’s harp, prepared accordion, field recordings, voice.

::: sound as space / sound as language :::

latvian friend and collaborator max shentelevs has posted a piece on the bernu rits website made by latvian television about a series of workshops and performances that took place there in 2008. max, john grzinich and i led the sound as space / sound as language workshop over 6 days in two locations. some more information about the workshop, from the murmerings archives:

“a workshop focusing on sound as transmitter of nonverbal information, whether as a tool for communication or as a description of physical or imaginary space. we will focus on sound’s ability to define/describe space, and on our ability to resonate, alter, or create space by using sound. we will also explore animal communication and group activity. a strong focus will be placed on environmental listening, and the development of the ear toward detailed sonic perception. using small acoustic objects and the space itself, we will experiment with methods of group nonverbal sonic communication, with giving our location a voice, and with creating new spaces toward an understanding of sonic scenography. the workshop will open with an extended listening session, after which participants will work through a series of sonic games and be asked to bring objects to use in the later stages.

more information (in latvian) and images from the week’s events here. the film is also in latvian, but includes much to see and hear!

::: one square meter: maribor riverside :::

one square meter is a project in micro-exploration. all sounds were recorded within a small radius of one another, a study of the different resonances perspectives, and focuses of a small space. for this project the chosen spot is on the riverside of the drava in maribor, the ruins of an old staircase that once led down to the water. the site contains the support poles for the now-gone staircase handrails, metal guardrails and fences, discarded bottles, reeds and cables dipping into the water, concrete walls, and life (insects, birds, fish, etc).individual sounds can be heard from the map on the right. here as well is a composition made using the recordings:


one square meter: maribor riverside is one outcome of the maribor maps project, a collaboration with udo noll, creator of  the aporee soundmaps, and as we speak, which was a part of maribor capital of culture 2012.

 

::: plats, kleyn & mcginley @ mooste folk festival :::

photo by sergei kleyn

on the 28th of april, 2012, marja-liisa plats (a local singer with whom i have worked several times in the past few years and with whom i have had a vague plan for the last year or so to start a musical project), sergei kleyn (a writer and musician who has been a resident artist at MoKS for the last few months) and i entered the annual mooste folk festival song competition and performance, at the request of the organisers for MoKS to enter a band representing the local mooste artists’ community.

many bands (14 this year, i believe) perform 2 songs each during the main event: one is a song of their choice, while the other is a single traditional song chosen by the festival organisers that each band must interpret. on the jury this year, among others, were musician peeter rebane, and legendary electronic composer sven grünberg, who would prove to be our champions as we won the 3rd place ‘surprise prize.’

many thanks to peeter and sven, and all those who enjoyed our music. here it is as recorded on the night by our friends, also then artists-in-residence at MoKS, dennis tan and katri ikävalko.