The Sound Edit ))) January 2015

))) The Sound: the giddy optimism of the new year was swiftly curtailed as the horrifying Charlie Hebdo events in Paris started unfolding.  I am still finding it difficult to process the brutality of what occurred. While the worldwide news channels presenting the same images over and over in an endless loop only helped make matters more surreal, it was a sound that somehow helped soothe, gather thoughts and genuinely express what couldn’t be described with words.  It was this one.

Notre Dame - Charlie Hebdo

 Credit: Des Coulam

I invite you to take some time to read and listen to this post lovingly put together by Paris-based recordist Des Coulam, as it truly captures the sense of sadness and mourning felt by the crowd in a way that no image, text or description ever could.

As the #JeSuisCharlie hashtag started making its way around the world, heartfelt impromptu works by artists of all disciplines – including sound, of course- began popping across social media, capturing emotion and representing condolences.  This one from Espaces Sonores (aka Stéphane Marin) was my favourite of them all.


))) The Installation: the indefatigable Stuart of Cities & Memory has put together an impressive installation of some of the field recordings and remixes featured on the site, currently at the 03 Gallery in Oxford (on view 12-5pm daily).  Delighted my sounds are included in this, alongside the work of other recordist and artists such as Dan Tapper, Jase Warner, Emmanuel Galvan and more.

cities and memory field recordings    cities and memory 2 cities & memory exhibition oxford

Credit: Stuart Fowkes

))) The Film:
 Whiplash is a film that works on many levels, and I enjoyed them all.  The acting is superb, the story is tight and keeps you on edge – just like the mental music teacher played by J. K. Simmons, the music is a joy throughout (I’m not even a huge jazz fan) and there are some drool-inducing super close-ups of beautiful musical instruments and virtuosos at play.  What’s not to like?


I also couldn’t help noticing how this could have easily been written for the stage- the story almost exclusively takes place indoors (with one notable exception), which really helps projecting the relentless sense of dread Andrew, the main character, is feeling.  With the huge audience-pleasing potential in the live music element, I have a feeling we might see this make a transition to Broadway in the not too distant future.

Anyway, this is a clip from the opening scene:

I can’t recommend this film enough if you are at all into sound or music.  And I dare you not to download ‘Caravan‘ by Buddy Rich the moment you step out of the screening.

))) The Work:
 January has been a month of alternating between creating new soundscape material, and working on a straight up documentary- on this topic, you can read my tips on logging audio interviews here.  Or if you’d like to listen to some recent soundscapes you can check out my soundcloud page.

And finally- not a favourite, but rather…..

))) A Goodbye
: some sad news was sprung on to the Dublin arts scene this month, as the Center for Creative Practices announced its closure due to the fact that the building they were tenants to was being sold off (Celtic Tiger back on the prowl, folks).  It was very sad to hear- on a personal level the centre has always been very supportive to my practice, but also more generally as it was one of the few impeccably run, warm and welcoming, engaging and truly inclusive arts space in Dublin city centre.

CFCP La cosa preziosa

Working at Cfcp with Evangelos Kapros (2013),
part of their ‘Migrant Artists on Ireland’ series

The only hope is that, as they mentioned on their facebook announcement, Ian and Monika will continue to work away to produce more creative events and who knows, there may be a new home somewhere down the line.  So let’s make this a ‘see you later’ rather than a goodbye- dear Ian, Monika (and Schula!!) grazie mille di cuore, for all the work you have put into creating and fostering what will always be a very special place.

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