Tuesday, 24 April 2012

london sound survey

despite being a yorkshire chap & someone who gets a bit fed up with the focus on London here in the UK, this site has some interesting sounds gathered around the british capital, including historical recordings from the 1920's onwards.

new release
Jez riley French - 'resonances / residences'
two compositions for untreated field recordings & locale
'this is 'slow' music - its about listening, that delicate and overlooked aspect of our lives'

resonances di topolo
aquatic life in a stream | ants eating an apricot | balustrades (day) | balustrades (night)
recorded & composed as part of a residency at stazione di topolo, italy - july 2011
residences de lumiere
light supports along the hozugawa river | neon light in seoul | balustrades of the seoul tower | light supports along the hozugawa river
composed for the ‘lighthouse relay’ project, commissioned by folkstone fringe for the folkstone triennial 2011
recordings made on a concert tour of japan & during a residency at mullae art space, seoul, korea - june 2011
....if you so wish
the pieces on this cd can be listened to in the following manner
listen, at the quietest time of the day, with a window slightly open - the volume of the music resting alongside (but not above) that of the locale....
in this way,
each experience of listening is a new realisation of the scores
engraved glass egcd040

price options
'a stereophonic journey through India' by Jean-Louis Derche

free mp3 streaming click here

Jean-Louis Derche traveled to India in the summer of 1971 and faithfully recorded temple music in several out-of-the-way locations. Even more remarkable are his unusual recordings made in the streets of Benares, Chidambaran, Madurai, Tanjour, and Trivandrum. Listen to the sounds of rickshas, a walk down a narrow street, craftsmen hammering metal, and the timeless flow of the Ganges River. His companion, photographer Monique Sidi, provided illustrations of the journey, for use in the September 1972 KPFA Folio. Mr. Derche, a computer scientist in Berkeley at the time of this KPFA production in 1972, has since disappeared from sight. This was his first and only known radio project.

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

new review (on the occasion of the cd & download re-release) from The Field Reporter blog:

‘The bright work’, originally published on 2009 and reissued on February of 2012, was largely made with hydrophones, very likely the ones Jez Riley French builds himself.

Hydrophones offer a very particular experience as what we hear is sound propagated through water, though a fluid. Fluids and sound waves have similar behaviors under certain circumstances, but what is interesting here is that the hydrophone hearing experience would suppose an immersive experience, but instead ‘The bright work’ seems to be more about textures, scales and friction. It’s like if water became a large membrane we use to listen to the surface of solid container of this water. A tactile and visual surface with detailed features and beautiful narratives.

Water and fluids acquire the shape of their container, they also tend to propagate and its behavior changes based on the molecular interaction with its container. On a more cultural approach water serves as mirror, the origin of the image. Anyway on ‘The bright work’ I’d say water is more of a metaphor to the space between ourselves and the things, to the distance we need to establish to have an image of things.

Water here works like some sort of a membrane, a magnifying glass, a medium to relate to the micro, to a reductionist approach through the possibility of listening to sounds otherwise inaccessible for human listening.

What is quite poetic here is what does Jez Riley French finds on this sounds that makes him want to play them to us. How his mediation as artist and sound capturer imprints his experience in these sounds: how his mediation imprints his emotions, thoughts, reflections and questions in the sounds we listen here.

‘The bright work’ is a work that serves to understand all the depth and transcendence behind the premise that in sound art sound is both the medium and subject. There is an immanent sort of “extraordinary” and revealing element in the hearing experience, in the reduction of the hearing that puts the listener in contact with something that he can’t necessarily comprehend but that he feels and experiences. This is no longer a metaphorical, figurative and descriptive process: this is sort of a metaphysical exercise: a way to sensibly address questions about ourselves and about the world.

Again, ‘The bright work’ is a very successful work as it provides a universal sense to the act of Jez Riley French recordings the water of some specific sites with hydrophones. The sense found here is the sense of relating to the world and relate to ourselves in a way different to the question / answer approach. More like if we subtract ourselves intellectually in order to feel the cosmos we are part of and have an actual meaningful transcendent experience.

click here for more info & to order

Sunday, 15 April 2012

review of 'Four Objects' from The Field Recorder blog:

Jez riley French’s Four Objects is an exploration into the amplification of sound miniatures. Over the course of forty minutes French directs his microphones towards four different objects, including: a piezo disc microphone, a teasel plant, a slate window, a tea flask. These pieces are strategically presented without any compositional intent, each of them being unmodified field recordings. As stated on his website French questions the use of processed sound, concerned that it is removing our ability to listen. Four Objects can therefore be read as an exercise in listening, a form of anti-composition which challenges the audience to become fully immersed within its microscopic worlds.

When French isn’t releasing his own material he is well-known for creating microphones. Four Objects showcases them well. The first track, a piezo disc slowly breaking, captures the tiny crackles and pops of a microphone in its death throes. For ten minutes we listen to the various sounds associated with this process. As with the ensuing recordings the piezo disc is presented without any external ambience. In light of French’s raison d’être this sole focus upon a single object enables the audience to be absorbed into its sonic realm without any other distraction.

A teasel plant on a windy day takes us to the surface of this prickly plant as it sways in the wind. A contact microphone amplifies the plant’s fast irregular rattles, each with its own pitch and wooden resonance. Listening to the recording we are drawn into the plant as it moves from side to side.

A slate windowsill captures a low drone-like vibration emanating from the surface of a sill. While the other tracks feature variously recognisable tonalities and slight moments of silence a slate windowsillhas a relentless propulsion that is at once mesmeric and disturbing.

A flask at q-02 is the final track in the release. Here French presents the sound of hot air as it slowly escapes from a tea-flask. The track’s placement at the end of the release seems critical, reminding us that a world of sound lies before us in the most mundane of objects.

French’s Four Objects is as much a celebration of sound as it is about the act of listening. The duration of the tracks requires the audience to listen beyond the limits of their usual attention span. It also obliges the audience to forego the anticipation of listening for climactic sound-events. Instead French invites us to lose ourselves within the moment of listening and to recognise that music naturally exists around us.

new release on Gruenrekorder

The unpredictable music of found strings, here captured using JrF contact microphones, offers up an experience both subtle and powerful – it keeps me fascinated, as does the challenge of presenting the results in a clear, emotive and simple way – allowing the moment of discovery to remain, tempered by the slow reveal of living with this music over time.
Please note: some of the frequencies of these structures mean that listening via computer speakers is not recommended, as you simply won’t be able to hear much of the sound. Therefore, please listen via conventional audio speakers or with headphones. thanks.
The reccordings featured in this composition were made during my first trip to Estonia for a residency at Moks. For those who haven’t visited Estonia before its vast openness and freedom from sound pollution make it a fascinating country to explore. The molasses hued mirrored lakes offered up some fascinating hydrophone recordings (some of which feature on my cd ‘the bright work’). whilst the sound of trees cracking together and grain barns rattling themselves from sleep in the occasionally strong winds provided some richly charged moments of deep listening.
I found transmitter cables, long chimney support cables, disused piano wires stretched across old farm utensils, rust covered fences – each one a surprise, a discovery and a joy to listen to. Also, standing in a simple, plain field bordering a seemingly endless, straight rail track and listening to the singing of the telephone lines that ran alongside the rails gave one a sense of unintended harmony between the modern world and the nature it all too often attempts to impose itself on. I made small cut-out pictures, placed them alongside the train tracks and in the long grass and photographed them – a picture story to send to my daughter – all the time with the sound of these long harp strings in my ears - JrF

Field Recording Series by Gruenrekorder
Gruenrekorder / Germany / 2012 / GrDl 106 / LC 09488

review by cheryl tipp:

Estonian Strings -- Jez riley French

Jez riley French is well known for his work exploring sounds that are 
normally hidden from the general listener. His recordings bring forth 
new life into environments that are not actively forthcoming when it 
comes to sharing their acoustic qualities, thereby opening up new sound 
environments to explore.

"Estonian Strings" is the latest offering from French and takes the form 
of a 42 minute composition based on recordings made during his first 
trip to Estonia in the spring of 2009. With his constant desire to 
investigate new sonic sources, French applied his contact microphones to 
a variety of "found strings".

"I found transmitter cables, long chimney support cables, disused piano 
wires stretched across old farm utensils, rust covered fences -- each 
one a surprise, a discovery and a joy to listen to."

The result of this foray into the unknown is a select series of field 
recordings that have been patiently worked together to create a 
pulsating, otherworldly piece that quietly beckons to the listener. 
Headphones are a definite must if you want to fully appreciate the 
multilayered intricacies of this work. With headphones, 'Estonian 
Strings' takes on an almost mesmeric quality; the piece is unhurried and 
minimal, yet it seems almost impossible to remove oneself from this 
strange world. The changing tone of the work is unquestionably subtle, 
but there is enough happening to retain more than a passing interest in 
the content.

With his ear for the unusual and an unflinching curiosity, French once 
again opens up a portal to reveal a wealth of usually concealed sounds. 
Just the right balance has been struck between content and composition 
here, making 'Estonian Strings' an intriguing and enjoyable listening 
experience. ct