Where have I heard that before?

I had been exploring the idea of using sounds to recall memory; just as certain smells will remind you of individuals or occasions, I had been awakened to the idea that sounds would do the same. While listening to  Episode 11 at Radius, the “chasms of vibrant static” short wave radio produces when tuning between stations brought the memory of playing with my older brothers ‘boombox’ as a youth.   During a summer evening at dusk on my parents back deck, turning the large tuning  knob searching for voices from far away, and the glowing red LED’s monitoring the volume, it is a strange and vivid recollection.

So my project was to put together sounds that might have a similar impact, and what better way than to record our family’s camping trip over a weekend in August.  My intention was to gather general sounds  that would be specific to camping: the sound of a tent zipper, night sounds, water, a campfire, and although I did these things, as I listened back it became a much more personal piece than was originally intended.  The conversation between my youngest daughter and I as we walked a trail, or the hushed voices of my eldest son and I as we sat on the river’s edge taking long exposures of the hydro dam at night with the 35mm, my wife washing up our two year old before bed with water warmed over the fire.  It becomes a biographical record, a moment in time in our families lives, but in a much different way than looking at photos or watching a home video.

It was an excellent exercise to focus my attention looking for sounds that I was going to record.  We rely strongly on our sense of vision to get us where we are going, to gather information, to entertain; our hearing seems to be a secondary sense unless we pull it forward as when we listen to music.  Field recordings are probably not something you listen to while cooking dinner or focusing on office work, but can be quite experiential if listened to at a opportune moment.

If you were going to record a moment in your life, what might it be?  Willing to share?

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Clem leek – Snow Tale

I downloaded Clem leek‘s Snow Tale recently, and was listening to it while doing work around the house today.  I’ve been marveling at the corn field that stretches out from behind our house, it’s flower pokes up from the stalks and if you are at the right angle, because the corn is well above my head now, it is a great shimmering sea of gold and green in the breeze coming out of the west.  It seems in August vegetation is at it’s peak; goldenrod and purple loosestrife are in full bloom and all the rich colour gives an almost majestic feel to the rural landscape.  All this colour must have been what prompted me to write yesterdays brief post on how music can really change how we receive our surroundings.   So Clem leek’s gentle shimmering bells and strings gave a wonderful backdrop for gazing out the window as I washed dishes or paused from trying to keep up with picking up after the kids.

Track #2 keeps calling me to listen.  It’s sparse staccato strings throughout seem to be replying to the birdcall that begins the piece, as if deep in some woods.  The notes of the sustained, airy strings give a slight sense of anticipation as if you’re rounding a bend on a trail anxious to meet someone.

The remix of track #3 is a nice surprise in the otherwise percussion-less set, with a glitchyness that at first makes you think there’s something wrong with the playback but quickly resolves itself in the listener.

This was my first encounter with Clem leek and I think I’ll be exploring more of his music in the future.  A quick search of his bio on FB tells me he comes from ‘the South East of the UK’ and classifies his work as Modern Classical/ Ambient which seems a fitting description.

I know it seems contrary to be talking about a release entitled Snow Tale in August, but that’s what drew me in, I guess the humidity was getting to me.

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Music can be like a colour we wash over our lives and change how we receive our environment.







Found at Rural Colours

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