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Two of Europe's leading field recordists: Eric La Casa and Jean-Luc Guionnet, produced what Barry Esson (a curator of the Instal festival) describes as “a series of un-edited, one-shot subjective sonic portraits”. The recordings were investigations into the spaces people live in and their relationship with music and sound. The series of blurry audio networks questioned cause and effect between residents and musicians.
The ongoing project, entitled House, followed protocols (available via Eric La Casa's website) in four Glaswegian houses. I asked the artists about the reasons behind undertaking this project, their intentions with these protocols and the results of this process.
According to Eric La Casa, the reasons they undertook this process was “because we wanted to answer a very specific question, the main one was how and why are you listening to what you are listening to in your house...we wanted to use the music that people listen to in their house as the sound of this house.”
A result of this process is, as Jean-Luc Guionnet explained that “the music you hate, you can really like it in this context. You hear it through all this, through what the person is telling you about it, through his space...his life. For me, its very touching, I didn't know any of the music before, I didn’t care about the music before, but now I have a link in my brain with this music because of them.”
House like other field recordings has scientific practices at its core. The artists explained this in the lobby of the hotel they were staying in during the Uninstal festival: ”We have a lot of distance with it at the same time, if we want to measure a space with a sound, like here in this hotel, we will put a sound here and listen to it all over the hotel. The best way to do this is to put some perfect white noise here, very loud and see how it resonates around the building.”
House differs from a purely scientific process, because it doesn’t analyse those exact measurements, as Jean-Luc explained further: “We used use the music that people choose, so it doesn't measure anything at the end, its like we are measuring but we don't, its like we use the way we should do it but we don't do it the proper way. We do it with stupid music instead, not because its stupid, but its because its music. It shouldn’t be music to do that, but in the end it still measures something --its more about the thoughts of a person. For example, if this person is listening to his or her music in the kitchen and when we go with microphones into the toilet to see how this music is going in the toilet. It means that this person, who is listening to music in the kitchen, when they go to the toilet, that's how the music will resonate in the persons head. This is a lot of information about this space and this person. We forget about the exact measurement, but we learn a lot.”
Arika who program the Uninstal and annual Instal festival (a festival that examines the very definitions and boundaries of music) favour a academic almost scientific approach to music, but its Arika’s passion for the experimental that informs its programming and makes their annual Instal festival such an intense and thrilling experience. It is, as Barry Esson explains, “about thinking music”. The festival is concerned with authorship and challenging the perception of an audience as a single passive group.
The audio associated with this post contains an interview with Jean-Luc Guionnet and Eric La Casa and a one-shot recording that followed a similar set of protocols to House, but instead of investigating the intimate space of individuals, it explores the Tramway as an exhibition space and a place of work.
The House project and the questions is poses is still being interpreted and developed. The Tipping Point, the second stage of House, which Jean-Luc describes as “more like the feedback of the person” (a process where they give the person the microphones and headphones) is further explored by Jean-Luc Guionnet, Eric La Casa, Gaël Leveugle & Seijiro Murayama at the Tramway on Sunday November 14th as part of the Instal Festival, continuing the “endless loop” they describe in this interview.
Posted at 17:49, 13th November 2010
We decided to open up our back-garden to Subcity's club night regulars, punks, older dudes, passerbys and even a bunch of kids. Falling somewhere between field recording, musical performance and party, we recorded two unique performers in a cacophonic mix of improvised performance, audience, bird-song, aeroplanes, mobile phones, guitar cases, cars and drain gurgles.
RM Hubbert's intense guitar technique collects styles from around the world, such as flamenco and taiko - and fuses them with his Glaswegian post-rock roots (he was formerly a member of El Hombre Trajeado), his debut album 'First & Last' is available in physical or pay-what-you-want download.
Wounded Knee is a vocal artist from Edinburgh, he incorporates a postmodern Hebridean waulking song ethic with one of the most accomplished dramatic tenors in contemporary music. Song, spoken word and sound effects drawing influences from as far afield as Gaelic psalm, improvisation and throat techniques à la Bobby McFerrin and even scat. At the heart, a modern symbiosis of folk and mantra, culminating in an artist who is unique, playful and captivating.
Photo by Alistair Clark
Posted at 22:11, 26th May 2010
A full unedited recording of the Vice President Media & Communications section of the SRC By-Election 09 heckling meeting.
Chaired by SRC President Gavin Lee and featuring speeches from each of the 5 candidates (Fida Bazai, John Donaldson, Bobby Rae, Maeve Wightman, Jim Wilson) followed by questions from the Williams Room audience.
Audio from earlier in the evening is available with commentary on our Elections 09 page along with a post match grilling of all 5 candidates in the Subcity studio featuring awkward questions from Hack! magazine editor Shaun.
Posted at 23:12, 5th May 2009