Let Me Listen to the Landscape
April 2, 2014 3:35 AM   Subscribe

Today I found this - "Sonic Horizons of the Mesolithic: Sounding out Early Prehistory in the Vale of Pickering". It is a collaboration between a sonic artist, archaeologists and The British Library. I absolutely love it. It ticks all my boxes: sonic exploration of psychogeography (and a specific landscape) coupled with archaeology. Goosebumps. Where can I find more along these lines? I am not interested in New Age ambient music/sounds nor am I interested in generic 'nature soundtracks'. I am after specific sonic landscapes: recordings from or sonic imaginings of specific landscapes situated in specific times. I am already familiar with the work of Felicity Ford. Any other artists or sites I should look at?
posted by kariebookish to Media & Arts (5 answers total) 30 users marked this as a favorite
You might be interested in the work of Rutger Zuydervelt/Machinefabriek.
posted by neushoorn at 4:05 AM on April 2, 2014 [1 favorite]

No archaeology, but you might like Aaron Ximm's work on quietamerican.org.
posted by theodolite at 5:17 AM on April 2, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Annea Lockwood's A Sound Map of the Housatonic River may do what you need. Anyway, I think it's great. (That's just an excerpt.)
posted by JohnLewis at 5:32 AM on April 2, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Chris Watson is a field recordist. He does work for the BBC and has several recordings available on the touch label.

His Stepping Into The Dark and Weather Report releases feature recordings of very specific landscapes situated in specific times.

His recording of a "drama in Kenya's Masai Mara from 0500-1900 on Thursday 17th October 2002" on "Weather Report" gives me chills.
posted by the matching mole at 8:54 AM on April 2, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Bill Fontana, Bill Fontana, Bill Fontana.

Landscape Sculpture with Fog Horns, 1981: This was a live acoustic map of San Francisco Bay. Microphones were installed at 8 different positions around the bay in order to hear the multiple acoustic delays from the fog horns on the Golden Gate Bridge. Since the speed of sound is 1100 feet per second, this created a spontaneously contrapuntal texture. Sounds were broadcast to the facade of Pier 2, at Fort Mason Center along the San Francisco waterfront. [Alternate radio version]

Field Recordings of Natural Sounds, 1983: One of the first and still the best of the modern era of natural field recordings, this finds naturalist Fontana as far out as southern Australia and as near to home as the northern California coasts. His recordings of water smashing on rocky coasts, birds pecking and feeding and burbling, and unidentified howls and scratchings have horror-movie immediacy combined with the thrilling authenticity of a well-filmed documentary. This isn’t the next best thing to being there — this is being there completely, at the right place and the right time, only amplified.

Soundbridge Köln-San Francisco, 1987: In 1987 I realized the largest analog acoustic network of the time, the Cologne San Francisco Sound Bridge. In that project, there were installations existing in both Cologne and San Francisco that for one hour were linked by satellite and played all over Europe, the USA and Canada on radio. The Cologne installation was a live sound portrait of the city, with microphones at 16 locations in Cologne, with loudspeakers on the facade of the Cologne Cathedra and other rooftops surrounding Roncalliplatz. The San Francisco installation was a live duet between the Golden Gate Bridge and the Farallon Islands National Wildlife Refuge (which lies 30 nautical miles west of the Bridge) ­this was heard at SFMOMA.

Landscape Soundings, Vienna, 1990: The Vienna project was installed in large public space, the Maria Theresean Platz situated between the Kunsthistorisches and Naturhistorisches Museums. Sixteen microphones placed in an ancient wetland of the Danube, the Hainburger Au, transmitted via a multiplexer over a microwave link. This was also broadcast many times by the ORF.

Australian Sound Sculptures, 1990, comprising two pieces:

Kirribilli Wharf, 1976: Kirribilli Wharf was a floating concrete pier that was in a perpetual state of automatic self performance. There were rows of small cylindrical holes going between the floor and underside to the sea below. They sounded with the percussive tones of compression waves as the holes were momentarily closed by the waves. This 8 channel recording consisted of placing microphones over the openings of eight such holes, making a real time sound map of the wave action in the sea below the pier. It was later installed as a gallery installation played from 8 loudspeakers in a space.

Acoustic Views, 1988: In 1988, Fontana was commissioned by the Biennale of Sydney to create a new sound work for broadcast from the Gallery’s facade. The resulting composition, ‘Acoustic Views’, was derived from live field recordings transmitted via 16 telecom land lines from sites all around Sydney including Audley National Park, Taronga Zoo, a bell bouy in the harbour, Kirribilli wharf, the clock tower of the GPO, the stock exchange and the Harbour Bridge. These 16 live feeds, selected as landmark sounds of Sydney at that moment in time, were relayed to a broadcast van out the back of the Gallery and then to eight speakers situated along the building facade. Fontana designated the work ‘a live sound portrait’ of the harbour and its surrounds.

The dude has many more, but these are my favorites.

Also, check out this great list from Leonard Pierce's blog.
posted by mykescipark at 9:15 AM on April 2, 2014 [3 favorites]

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