WILD(ER)NESS: beyond human soundscapes | Week 8 of 11
Hosted by Wayne Garrett & Caitlind Brown.
The second of three radio-based Hibernation themes, WILD(ER)NESS: beyond human soundscapes asks listeners to consider the relationship between soundscapes and landscapes, sound and place, wilderness and wildness. Artists, musicians, and journalists explore the too-often ignored sonorous space beyond human soundscapes. Whether this is interpreted as soundscapes made by animals or environmental entities, audio from places inhospitable to humans, sounds occurring at the tense intersection where people and wild spaces clash, or music inspired by creatures and experiences in nature, the sound art pieces on this month’s program are beautiful, spatial, observational, and – at times – political, inviting the listener on a wild adventure, ears first.
Thanks to the participating artists and our friends at CJSW!
Alexandra Spence is a sound artist and musician living on unceded Wangal land in Sydney, Australia. Through her practice, Alex attempts to reimagine the intricate relationships between the listener, the object, and the surrounding environment as a kind of communion or conversation. Her aesthetic favours field recordings, analogue technologies and object interventions.
Water Bugs is a track from forthcoming album Blue waves, Green waves, to be released on Room40 in early 2022. In the words of the artist, “Blue waves, Green waves is a personal attempt to connect with the vast watery body of the Pacific Ocean – evoking the physical sensation of being in, and with the ocean – sea spray (thick with salt) lashing skin, foamy white water evaporating through fingers, air bubbles trapped within breaking waves, hissing past ears as they escape to the surface, and I dive beneath.”
Annie Dunning is a multidisciplinary artists with a dynamic practice based in sculpture and installation. Annie’s work is “almost entirely about finding parallels between the human and non-human worlds.”
Cochlea is a sculpture that proposes the form of a snail shell as an organic sound space and listening device. Cast in glass, this large-scale version of a shell is supported on a wave of bronze cast net. In the words of the artist, “the experience of holding a shell to an ear is a sonic experiment we have all performed. Listening to ‘the ocean’ in a shell creates a mirroring of similar structures: the spiral of the shell and the spiral-shaped organ of the inner ear from which this sculpture takes its name. In this work I wanted to use the architecture of a snail’s shell to experiment with how this form bends sound. Inserting a small microphone into the core of the glass shell, and then playing a recording of waves to be re-recorded by the internal microphone created the soundtrack that accompanies the sculpture. The sound is altered as it travels through the spiral of the shell. This new track was then played through the shell, and again recorded. After about six passes through the glass shell the water sounds become completely transformed.”
Annie Dunning shared that “the original track of waves on the pebble beach was recorded at Bere Point, Sointula on Malcom Island, BC. It is a pretty magical place where whales come in close to the shore to rub on the stones, cleaning barnacles and parasites off their skin. It is one of the few places that whales come to that is also accessible to humans; another nice parallel! In the 1800s spiritual mediums sometimes used shells as a tool to let them hear messages from the dead, particularly those who died at sea.”
Bert Crowfoot, featuring the words of Elder Mary Thomas
Bert Crowfoot is a Canadian journalist, photographer and TV producer of Siksika/Saulteaux descent. In 1983, Bert began publishing Windspeaker, a national magazine covering issues in the aboriginal community and he is the founder and CEO of the Aboriginal Multimedia Society of Alberta. He established Alberta’s first Aboriginal radio station, CFWE-FM, and he is the producer of the documentary series Quest of Buffalo Spirit. He is the great-great-grandson of legendary Blackfoot chief Crowfoot.
Elder Mary Thomas (pictured above) was a highly respected Neskonlith Elder of the Secwepmec Nation in the Southern Interior of BC. She was an avid environmentalist and a devoted teacher who spent her lifetime educating both the young and old about the need for increased environmental awareness, conservation and preservation. Mary Thomas passed away in 2007, at the age of 90.
Buffalo Spirit: The Loon Song ~ Mary Thomas is a recording from an article written by Bert Thomas for the 2003 issue of Windspeaker about The Loon. Please read Bert’s entire article here. In this recording, Mary Thomas prays, “let our spirits be free like the loon. Hear us echo through the forest […] let the little children learn what it’s like to listen to the loon. It’s a beautiful free bird… Whenever I feel down, I feel as though everything is crowding in on me, I’ll sing [the loon song] and I just feel the freedom coming back to me. That I’m me and I can change things. I get that strength and I pray, give me that freedom… That will be a prayer for all our Elders, to remain strong. Not to give up on our young people’s future. We will go down together praying. To be free like the loon. He still looks after the wilderness.”
You can read a complete transcript of Mary’s words beyond the recording here. Thanks to Windspeaker Media and Aboriginal Multimedia Society of Alberta.
Christina Milinusic is a sound practitioner, thereminist and current chapter head for SoundGirls Alberta. A masters student at the University of Lethbridge, her arts-based research explores the thresholds of sonic perception and how soundscapes connect living beings within acoustic environments. Christina’s art-based thesis research uses soundscape compositions to increase awareness of how soundscapes extend beyond the human hearing range into the infra- and ultra-sonic ranges.
Binaural Chorus #1 is a biophonic soundscape using field recording of birds singing a ‘dawn chorus,’ contributed by the Bird Song Lab at the University of Lethbridge, accompanied by a low frequency ‘binaural beat’ and high frequency theremin chirps.
Curved Walls (Richard Gallant)
Curved Walls is the solo project of Calgary based multi-instrumentalist session musician and Hermitess member Richard Gallant. Utilizing a diverse assortment of stringed instruments both ancient and modern, Gallant constructs rich sonic tapestries that contrast and build on the distinct timbral identities of his wide collection of traditional instruments. Expect to hear the medieval tones of the Hurdy Gurdy and Psaltery contrasted against ambient electronics and heavy electric guitar riffs, all blended together into intricately organized studio confections designed to delight the ear of the headphone aficionado. Boldly experimental, while still maintaining keen melodicism and meditative, harmonic grounding, Curved Walls takes the adventurous listener along on a rich and rewarding sonic excursion.
EARS HAVE EYES Ep. 2 features tracks Farm Cat and Rock Skipping.
Derek Haussecker is a multi-disciplinary artist and musician from Calgary/Mohkinstsis. His work often explores the relationships between sounds, colours, and form. As a percussionist he utilizes patterns, rhythm and the dynamics of sound as tools to create an atmosphere or experience that intrigues the viewer/listener and attracts them to investigate the relationships between what they are seeing and hearing. In creating physical or audio work, he adopts a process of experimentation and revisitation to make objects and sounds. Using common materials and themes that are reimagined into a new experience. He aims to encourage to viewer/listener to question reasoning behind the creation of sound and music, broadening the scope of sonic possibilities to be enjoyed and understood. His work will range from sculptural objects and installations working with sound and light to time-based audio and video compositions and live audio performance.
Place Feel is a stereo audio piece that consists of an accumulation of field recordings from various scenarios of everyday life, moments when sounds aren’t particularly noticed and fade into the background. In this composition these unnoticed noises are emphasized by removing them from their context while treating each separate recording as an instrument in an arrangement. Coming together to create a fluid sound-space that evokes imagery and feelings through its sonic properties. The sounds shift from familiar to oddly foreign, each give a sense of presence within a specific space. The composition of the recordings paints pictures of warm and calm serenity in nature shifting into a cold cacophony of machines. Like the sounds of a film, the listener wanders through the imagined spaces and feels the environment suggested through sound.
Jean-Paul Perrotte is an American composer of French and Ecuadorian descent whose work includes compositions for electronics, instruments, voice, video, dancers, and improvisation. His recently released CD “Jean-Paul Perrotte: A Collection of Works” on Ravello Records is available for download on: Apple Music, Amazon Music, Spotify, Naxos and other digital music downloads.
En Medio: A Border Soundscape was composed as a sonic experience to raise consciousness about issues related to the act of crossing the US-Mexico border through all the facets of art and music. En Medio: A Border Soundscape works to recreate the night time sounds of the rugged US-Mexico border land in the ear of the visiter. Sounds of life with a truck being started and border radio, along with gentle waves of feedback and percussion, paint an image of the wild and vast open space that runs along the Rio Grande.
Robin Minard was born in Montreal in 1953. He lived in Berlin from the early 1990’s and in 1997 became professor of electroacoustic composition and sound art in Weimar, where he was also founder and director of the Studio for Electroacoustic Music (SeaM Weimar). Most recently he was named Bonn City Sound Artist 2022 by the Beethoven Foundation Bonn.
Kayapó – The Crying Chieftain Raoni was commissioned by German radio (WDR3 Cologne and DLF Kultur Berlin) in 2018/19. The original 50-minute piece consists of field recordings made in Brazil, both in the Amazon rainforest north of Manaus as well as at Indigenous protests in Brasilia. The work interweaves field recordings with indigenous voices and stories, as well as lists of murders committed against indigenous peoples for reasons of prejudice, greed, and politics. The work paints a tragic picture of Brazil’s Indigenous peoples and their struggle for survival.
Kayapó – The Crying Chieftain Raoni is dedicated to the Kayapó and Guarani people of the Amazon rainforest and the Kayapó leader Raoni Metuktire.
You can hear the complete piece in English here.
You can hear the Portuguese version, created in collaboration with radio artist Janete El Haouli and composer José Augusto Mannis, here.
Rucyl Frison is a new media and sound artist, singer, musician, and producer. Her interests involve experimentation and process as performance, time-based analog effects systems, and using sound to represent concepts that are non-tactile (time, natural forces, emotion, identity, and physics).
Sound Prism is the sound from a performance where Rucyl Frison used her Sound Prism to block solar panels and create distortion of the signal and feedback loop manipulation. Sound Prism is an outdoor solar speaker installation that uses a 7 note scale tuned to the frequency of the basic colors in the visual spectrum. This recording was captured live at Organizmo Centro de Diseño y Capacitación en Hábitats Sostenibles, Colombia.
Thank you to the artists & listeners! Special thanks to CJSW.