Media Sound Culture Music
Room 101 in Old Sibley Library at the Eastman School of Music. A music history class is ending while an Alexander Technique class is getting ready to begin. Fragments of conversation fade in and out while a live recording of Franz Schubert's Octet plays in the background.
The birds are back early this year. They announce the arrival of spring. Punxsutawney Phil told us six more weeks of winter. We got about two. The birds sing of coming warmth. It is little comfort. I welcome milder weather, but it will only be mild for so long. Perhaps summer will come early, too. Perhaps, one day, winter will never come at all. It is hard to record birdsong in the city. There are too many cars. They try to tell us that cars are the problem. That fewer cars will keep the birds around longer. The fewer cars will keep winter cold. Fewer cars won't stop it all, though. Birds won't return if there are no forests. They won't come back for a new parking lot. Not if the factories keep heaving the smoky sighs of a tycoon puffing a cigar as he rests his feet on the Resolute Desk. Perhaps this is not their song. Perhaps it is a warning.
6:00 PM. I arrive at my apartment. My dog already knows I am there; he can hear my footsteps in the stairwell. He loses control of his emotions. All he can provide is a pathetic whine. He is thrilled to see me. His tags ring like a peal of bells announcing a royal return. He was so lonely. I, too, am relieved to be home. It was a long day at the library. My backpack drops like a sack of flour. He places his paws as high as he can reach on my thighs. He had spent so much time alone. What a relief to see my face! I had worked so hard at my studies. What bliss to come home! The two reinforce each other--loneliness and bliss, anxiety and relief. A bittersweet nightly ritual.
A recording of Italian radio, wind, and traffic designed to demonstrate the "meaningless" cacophony that can be present in the "nothing" of absent listening. Inspired by Daniela Cascella's descriptions of listening to radio while sitting in traffic on the ring road outside of Rome, this recording draws attention to the disparity between external sound ("noisiness") and content ("meaning").
An internal reading of Emily Dickinson's "A Thought went up my mind today" and "Drama's Vitallest Expression is the Common Day." The internal experience of reading poetry can be rife with imagined sound even as the external environment of the act of reading is entirely silent. Inspired by Daniela Cascella's descriptions of sounds and spaces ideaesthetically created by the poetry of Emily Dickinson, this recording draws attention to the disparity between external sound ("noisiness") and content ("meaning").
I recorded the ambience of a room in a studio at the Eastman School of Music, but within this ambience, if I might describe every action as they occur, I walked from outside the studio to the door, unlocked it with a key, removed the key, opened the door, walked in, shut the door, and then waited. I waited for a brief moment before opening the door again, exiting the room, shutting the door behind me, and proceeding to turn the recorder off.
Within this recording exists gaps of silence, but the silences are not empty nor devoid of energy. The energy within them exists from the perception of the listener, eagerly awaiting what happens next, and perhaps even if the recording itself was finished! In this way, my recording responds against the notion that silence must be this negative, empty thing, but rather a balance to sound in every possible way.
Ramp to I-490 W from Culver Road in Rochester, NY; evening. Cars can be heard passing by at various speeds, with moments of heavier traffic. The sounds of the damp pavement makes the tires on the road more audible.
Ramp to I-490 W from Culver Road in Rochester, NY; afternoon. Cars can be heard passing by at various speeds, with moments of heavier traffic. The sound of the damp pavement makes the tires on the road more audible.