A quiet position. Locale
VA -curated by Jez Riley French-
|My ears are becoming accustomed to this building. I can hear the traffic outside filtering through the windows, sending a slight vibration through the floorboards.
I spend my time sitting in different rooms listening. On occasion members of staff have disturbed the otherwise subtle, audible ebb and flow of each space.
In front of me, on the landing between two spaces there’s a green glass jar on the floor, into which I’ve placed two small lavalier microphones. First, i’m reminded of the signature sound of filtering this way - the tone created by the air reverberating around the glass walled space - and then, with time, the specifics of this location and this jar begin to draw me in. I think about this jar, why it was placed here in this particular spot.
I think about how the former owners of this house surrounded themselves with visual art and all kinds of crafted objects and yet were no doubt unaware of the fascinating sounds inside them or on their surfaces. I think too about all the visitors to this now public space and, as is often the case, I find myself wanting to share these discoveries, to pass the headphones to someone and watch their face registering, hopefully, a sense of surprise and pleasure. Then again I like the privacy too, the sense of being enveloped....for now, I’m alone in this space, at this time and so every sound I hear is with me and then replaced by another. I press record to capture something of these particular moments....
- Jez Riley French
||An upstairs landing, England Jez Riley French
||Ballard Jen Boyd
||Attempt at the non-linearity of a nest, 4 Radio Cegeste
||Array no.13 Duncan Whitley
||Kdi-dctb-229-b Cedric Peyronnet
||Winter near the forest Amanda Belantara
||Hitra Signe Liden
||Marsh reeds Dawn Scarfe
||Ytribaer forest hrisey iceland Elin Oyer Vister
||A coda: Guesthouse stockholm Jez Riley French
||Artwork + PDF Book
||Complete package (Artwork + Book + Mp3 Sound files)
||Complete package (Artwork + FLAC Sound files)
|“A Quiet Position” is a sublime new release of field recordings poetically capturing the subtle sounds that exist in common areas. Curated by Jez riley French “A Quiet Position” showcases the way in which field recordings meditatively transport us into the present moment, where the passage of time exhibits an elasticity that cannot be found in another art medium.
“A Quiet Position” features nine field recordists from a diverse range of countries including England, Iceland, Norway, and Japan. Despite differences in regions “A Quiet Position” is unified through each field recordist’s approach to their subject. Sounds which quietly envelope us are amplified, placing the miniatures of life into a more prominent stance. Any amplification is done with absolute sensitivity, without endangering the delicate quality of the sounding object or its environmental context.
Each of the tracks in “A Quiet Position” offers something unique for the listener, however for the limited space of this review only a few standout tracks will be mentioned. The first of these is by Jez riley French. “An Upstairs Landing” features the sound of air reverberating inside a glass jar. By using lavalier microphones French captures an otherworldly tone slightly reminiscent of recordings of the sun’s electro-magnetic energy. There in his room in Cambridge French reveals a sound that could be easily dismissed by those without the patience to fall into its sense of wonder.
Duncan White’s recording titled “Array no.13” illustrates the variations that exist in the tone and pitch of wind. Recorded at Rampisham Transmission Centre in the summer of 2011 White’s track embodies the way in which R. Murray Schaffer described the musicality of the world around us. It exudes a sense of timelessness and isolation that is slowly unveiled to those who close their eyes to listen.
“Hitre” by Signe Liden is a deceptively simple composition made by layering field recordings of a bridge squeaking with the movement of waves on a Norwegian island. In the distance wolves can be heard, adding spatial depth and a haunting tone to the work. “Hitre” effectively demonstrates the way we respond to quiet sounds and the use of silence. By listening to the quiet that surrounds us we become more attuned to the spaces in which we live.
Running at just over fifteen minutes Elin Oyen Vister’s recording of a dawn chorus in Iceland’s Ytribaer Forest is “A Quiet Position’s” longest and most straightforward track. “Ytribaer Forest” brings the uninitiated listener close to the experience of traditional field recording. Listening to the quiet warbling call of the male Common Snipe in Vister’s recording is a pleasant challenge that confronts our ever-diminishing ability to slow down. Entrenching ourselves in the sounds of the early morning forest we are absorbed into “the moment”, our sense of time realigns itself with the natural flow. It is this serene connection between sound and time that is the common thread between each of the ten tracks in “A Quiet Position”.
Jez riley French has successfully curated a collection of works by field recordists who allow us entry to their sonic discoveries. The recordings were taken in regions we may never visit, however they are from acoustic spaces available to everyone. Recordings presented in “A Quiet Position” open us to the sonic possibilities of everything from bottles, trains, kerosene heaters, and bird nests. Familiar objects and places lie before us in quiet positions. It is our task to open our ears and listen.
-Jay-Dea Lopez (from The Field Reporter)
©2012 Jez Riley French
©2012 David Vélez
©2012 Various Artists (check credits)
©2012 Impulsive Habitat
This work is licensed under a BY-NC-ND 3.0
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