Audio post with 16 notes - Played 40 times
this week in the sound course i’m teaching, we’re reading articles on mobile listening by michael bull and jean-paul thibaud. thibaud develops the concept of “sonic door”: “The door of the house may also function as a sonic door. On one hand, the door serves as a transition between two places of distinct status; on the other hand, as an intermediary between two kinds of listening experience” (2003, 332). these two modes of listening experiences have to do with social and architectural contours of indoor spaces versus comparatively expansive outdoor environments. here are two 45-second excerpts of recordings i made in august of nighttime insects. both record the transition as i walk through doors from inside to outside. the first is in a wooded area of upstate NY; i walk through two doors (front and porch) before arriving outside. the second is near DC. among the sonic details i enjoy are little bursts of wind when i open each door (in the first example), and children inside contrasted with cicadas outside (in the second). technical note: there is a lot of handling noise; admittedly, i didn’t plan to keep these transitional segments.
Photo with 18 notes
i passed by this patch of green, with yellow flowers and red berries, in my neighborhood last sunday morning. it was buzzing with these sounds of crickets or cicadas. (i’m never sure who is sounding what, but here is a guide.) i had just watched this documentary on evelyn glennie, also featuring fred frith, and was thinking about something she said: that for everything we see, we associate a particular sound and imagine that sound even when we cannot hear it. in looking at this buzzing field, i wondered if that hypothesis tests out. in a sense, it does; here, one expects a field to buzz with insects in a particular way this time of year. yet, when i strained to see the sounding insects, or any movements associated with them, i couldn’t see them at all. this made me wonder whether r. murray schafer’s concept of schizophonia could be twisted to apply here—where sounds seem separated from their source not as an effect of human technological intervention, but as a strategy of communicating insects whose bodies remain concealed. schizophonia as an effect of insects’ technological interventions, if one considers their appendages as musical tools… glennie insightfully suggests that “the opposite of sound” is not silence but, rather, something akin to stillness or death. this helps to explain the aberrational effect of hearing the lively insects and sensing their rapid movements, but seeing a relatively still field of green.