EARS HAVE EYES // Episode 13
Aired Wednesday, February 8, 2023
on CJSW 90.9 FM
SYNAESTHETICS: do ears have eyes?
brainwave research center
Dr. Tibor Donath
Co-hosted by Wayne Garrett & Caitlind Brown, edited by Caitlind.
EARS HAVE EYES is a monthly sound art radio program airing on CJSW 90.9 FM in Calgary/Mohkinstsis. You can listen to podcasts of previous episodes here.
This month, we’re celebrating the One Year Anniversary of EARS HAVE EYES! We started imagining this radio show during The Hibernation Project (our annual collaborative wintertime art series) as a response to the global pandemic and subsequent social distancing. We were trying to figure out ways to share art spaces that don’t require physical proximity between people, but could still feel intimate.
As we see it, radio is one of the most intimate mediums. It arrives in your ears as clear as a whisper, without sight – or rather, with incidental imagery, whatever your eyes happen to be seeing (for those of us with vision) at the moment of reception. We love the act of turning on the radio and arriving in a temporary world, intersecting with whatever’s going on already. How do we look with our ears, and listen with our eyes?
With campus and community radio, the act of tuning in is made more pleasurable by the rejection of commercial interests that support most radio stations. The only ads on CJSW are for campus or community events. Perhaps because of this, CJSW is much more open to experimental content than any other station we’ve experienced – this is part of the reason they’re willing to host a sound art radio show like EARS HAVE EYES!
Thanks to our friends at CJSW for inviting us to cultivate this bizarre program – especially Tyra, Lily, Adam, and Kaamil. We owe much gratitude to the local artists who began this program with us in our home community, expanding outwards. Thank you to the national and international artists who submit their work across the ether of the internet, arriving in your ears via radiowaves and wifi. Thanks to our listeners for using your ears as eyes, and tuning in to our strange sound adventure.
Absturtzt is the working title of a continuing sound art project by Gerald Fratzl that has released numerous compiled works in the past 16 years. The project focuses on field recordings, audio art, sound collage and improvised performance using various implements and instruments.
Altergeist is based on field recordings made as part of the “Empty House” project from 2021. This composition conjures up a dystopian setting that suggests a fragmentation between humanity and the technology of their making. In the continuing struggle to survive, there is an increasingly destructive rival: Automated AI that relentlessly seeks to control life on the planet.
brainwave research center
brainwave research center is a new project from NYC-based house/techno producer, Chase Smith (W.T. Records, Apartment, is/Was), & documentary filmmaker, Christa Majoras (School of Visual Arts). Our debut album, Figure 1 [which includes (it’s possible)], was conceived together over two years as musical thought experiments. The songs embrace a raw, naive approach to sound design, instrumentation, and technical production to capture the feeling of experimentation.
(it’s) possible is based around an OB8 patch where the LFO rate is out of sync with the arpeggiator rate to create Steve Reich-like phasing effects. I don’t claim to have synthesia, but this song has always brought strong visuals to my mind of swirling colors as if I’m watching the spectrum of light pass through a crystal kaleidoscope of sorts. One could interpret the hypnosis sample in the song as instructions on achieving synthesia.
Cameron Naylor is an electroacoustic composer and sound artist. Through the manipulation of field recording and abstract sound material, his compositions explore sound and space as a metaphor in musical storytelling. His installations and compositions have been performed and exhibited around the UK and internationally.
Spent is an exploration of deconstruction, abstraction, and assemblage of sounds to create a series of shifting spaces and contexts. Through the manipulation of a single sound source, I aimed to create a wealth of sound material with which I could piece together to create a new and evolving sound worlds. Spaces merge and collide giving glimpses into distant sound worlds, creating impossible possibilities following abstract sounds through this perpetual sonic journey.
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.
“Although I didn’t plan it consciously, [Mollyscope] has a breakfast theme. The soundscape recordings I used include Molly dog chewing and snoring, along with bacon and eggs sizzling. Molly snores have undergone waveform synthesis to balance the spectral content and add musicality to the piece. I am hopeful the recordings evoke smells and tactile sensations.
Listening is a multisensory experience that activates all the senses. Together our senses create an aggregate experience of space and time, informing each other. In my understanding, hearing is situated between the senses of touch and vision. On the low frequency, ‘infrasonic’ end of the spectrum sound is sensed vibro-tacitly, and on the high frequency end of the spectrum, ultrasound, and sonar, means to visualize space with sound, take effect. “
Eric Heitmann is a Chilean-born artist and musician based in Calgary/Mohkinstsis. He plays keyboards, vocals, and electronic instruments with a variety of local bands. Eric collaborates frequently with other artists and makers. He is currently studying Education at the University of Lethbridge. Hibernation Project regulars will know him as the Director of Hiber National Gallery.
Eric’s improvised synesthesia composition was originally recorded in Caitlind & Wayne’s living room as part of The Hibernation Project’s SYNESTHESIA theme in early 2020. Along with several other musicians, Eric was playing a game where different musicians held a colour in their mind as they played. The listeners would try to receive their psychic message, guessing the colour by marking it on a colour wheel (depicted above).
When we contacted Eric to as if he remembered what colour he was playing. After re-listening, he said this:
“I definitely have to say, that was not one colour.
Started with a yellowish lime green for me, then bright orange came in, a clementine, overlapped but not mixed, until they did compound becoming a burnt orange, or the clementine, now old, dry and tough just sitting in the fruit bowl.
Glints of a summer sunlight speckled in eventually, a waxy purple and rose, and another candle but bubblegum mint green places next to the aged fruit.
And then gray, mold on the old clementine.”
Violinist Laura Reid is a versatile and active member of Calgary’s music and arts community. Having established a place in Calgary’s Classical scene and with eight years playing as a member of the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra and countless performances and collaborative work with small ensembles in the city, she left her tenured position with the CPO in 2016 to pursue a wider range of artistic opportunities. She was appointed Artistic Director of Kensington Sinfonia in 2018, leading and programming the 9-piece string ensemble for both their main series of chamber music and their series at Village Brewery that pairs the ensemble with a non-Classical featured artist.
Laura’s improvised synesthesia composition was originally recorded in Caitlind & Wayne’s living room as part of The Hibernation Project’s SYNESTHESIA theme in early 2020. Along with several other musicians, Laura was playing a game where different musicians held a colour in their mind as they played. The listeners would try to receive their psychic message, guessing the colour by marking it on a colour wheel.
Laura was playing the colour Yellow.
Paolo Montella is an Italian electroacoustic composer. Field recording and radical improvisation practices are central to his aesthetic. He focused his research on the relationship between sound and source, understood as a complex phenomenal system.
“In this world which we enter, appearing from a nowhere, and from which we disappear into a nowhere, Being and Appearing coincide”
~ Hannah Arendt, Life of the mind
With OSSA, the artist is trying to sever the link between the acoustic phenomenon – even acousmatic one – and its typical essence – concretely understood – by making Being and Appearance coincide. Appearance is the generator of infinite Semblance that need refer to nothing other than the individual and its reproductions. Field-recording, as an operation determined by rituals, times and techniques, qualifies for its non-exhaustive character by releasing the need to be artistically varied. Thus escaping the source into the source itself. In this perspective, the world seems to arrange itself as a true musical paradigm that dictates its syntax, its connections, its structural functions. In this work, field-recording is grafted onto the practice of dozens of interviews conducted between June and December 2021 with women from small towns in southern Italy.
Agata, an 11 years old girl, shows us her will, her future, her field – stark – at the centre of tense and contradictory forces, between her being a child, wanting to become a woman, her aspirations, and social impositions. Her strength is disarming, the tone of her voice exceptionally beautiful.
Dr. Tibor Donath
Dr. Donath is a Hungarian sound artist, lawyer and journalist, founder of SynthXLoop Audio. Since 2020, his sound installations have been exhibited mainly in fine art exhibitions.
About Ears Have Eyes from The SoundHunter Project:
“Somewhere there is a radio in the remote Mecca of sound artists. When you turn it on, it crackles and hisses a bit, but in the end it always sounds wonderful. The sounds here are measured not with a thimble but with a ladle. Before every broadcast, you sit in your favourite armchair, sip a cup of tea, close your eyes and wait for the many sound sculptors to start kneading the sounds. One begins more violently, strumming his occasional instrument, the other continues quietly, unhurriedly and casually. The layers of sound slowly build on each other and finally the sound sculpture is completed in your head.”
Thank you to the artists & listeners!
Special thanks to CJSW.
Want to share your sound art on future episodes of EARS HAVE EYES?
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