the airwaves were utilised as a form of public space and a venue for live art making during my involvement in the Visible City residency. On a late night radio show on the Melbourne station Triple R, I introduced a project made in collaboration with Lara Thoms entitled Songs for Cleaners, in addition to being interviewed more generally about the works being made for the Visible City residency in the studio.
29 Oct 2010
28 Oct 2010
radio cegeste was invited to perform at Fredstock 2010, a festival of experimental music and sound, hosted by the Frederick Street Sound and Light Exploration Society, a venue space in central Wellington, run on the smell of an oily rag by Daniel Beban, Nell Thomas and friends, and part of a long tradition of free-jazz and improvisationally-oriented underground performance spaces in the city, stretching back over a decade.
essentially a celebration of the diverse musical community which oscillates around the venue, fostered by regular Sunday night 'variety shows' and non-hierarchical in structure, the lineup for the 2010 incarnation of the festival, with approximately 62 performers, can be read about in detail here
22 Oct 2010
|The bugler sent a call of high romance—|
“Lights out! Lights out!” to the deserted square.
On the thin brazen notes he threw a prayer
- Robert Graves, 'The Last Post'
Records Records is an iconic second hand record store in Dunedin, New Zealand. An institution in the city, it was started in the 1970s by Roi Colbert, in a little space located in Stuart St, just off the central Octagon, where in the crucial decades of the 80s and 90s it filtered the ebbs and flows of the financial realities vs. the listening and collecting habits of various illustrious locals, while acting as an information and networking hub for Dunedin's sound culture. Recently, Roi sold up and the shop shifted to new premises over on Princes Street. Current owner Pat Faigan has continued the legacy and hosted many live gigs in the store, but, in an era when running independent record stores is a difficult proposition at best, Pat will be retiring from the record selling business at the end of October.
apart from a long history buying records from the shop, I spent a lot of time in the neighbourhood last summer, working right next to the current RR store at second hand bookstore Raven Books.
so, on Friday 22nd October, radio cegeste opportunistically crashed the end of someone else's gig upon finding out it was the 2nd to last one the store would host, and with half a day's notice, transmitted a site-specific soundscape at 8:30pm as a performative radio programme for RR, using the things I had at hand - namely, mini FM transmitter, 13 small radios, some of my 'bowed airwaves' violin tracks and field recordings transmitted via the above, alongside manipulation of room-sensitive radiophonic noise interference.
I also used a portable battery powered record player with material sourced from the shop that very afternoon (incl. an incredible spoken word 1-off private pressing of a british family recording an audio christmas greeting 'letter' to Grandma - the latter presumably located in NZ, which Pat sold me for a dollar), and some 78s found by a friend at the Dunedin dump (incl. a broken, skipping, cracked HMV 78rpm recording of the band of H.M. Coldstream Guards' rendition of ceremonial military standards Evening Hymn and The Last Post).
There were also some musical birdsong cards from the Otago Museum i'd bought that day, coupled with Radio NZ birdsong recordings on 45rpm which i'd picked up from the Blue Oyster Gallery after their inclusion in the Media Povera show. The lack of working overhead lights in the shop added to the huddled and intimate nature of the resulting peripheral, floor-based, no-mains-power performance for receivers and transmitter alike.
my post-Melbourne nomadisms have included, as is usual at some point in such Dunedin interludes, a temporary docking-point at None studios, and renewed engagement with the deep-listening silences and ghost-terrain of Dunedin has been balanced with a grateful nod toward the ongoing industrious activities and artistic vitality of the city's ever-shifting living communities.
Tonight's gig saw long term None residents Motoko (violin, voice) and Justin (percussion, voice) playing together as a duo they call The Surgical Department for this Records Records (second to) last post, as well. Also on the bill were local groups Communist Rainbow Relationship and QTPI.
as if this wasn't enough I cancelled my plan to see Robert Scott play at Chicks Hotel in favour of continuing the evening's energetic bust of engagement in event-based audio exploration by going back to None immediately after the gig to record a duo set with percussionist Lee Noyes.
This was more minimal, based on radiophonic feedback, and involved manipulating 'radios talking to each other' in theremin-like accompaniment to Lee's spacious and subtle acoustic manipulations of a drum, a wire, and various strings. Lee has since tidied this up and is treating it as a potential release, pending acceptance.
RIP, Records Records. thanks to Arron Clark who shot and edited the following video montage of the RR in-store proceedings...
16 Oct 2010
14 Oct 2010
A 2009 study conducted by researchers from the department of Zoology at the University of Melbourne into the impact of traffic noise on animal communication ascertained that urban birds are changing their songs to different pitches in response to living in the city.
As the department's Mr Yanh Hu concluded : “Urban noise makes it hard for animals to hear each other’s calls and songs, and this is especially true for those who communicate using low-pitched sounds... birds that can’t be heard above the noise of the city may have trouble attracting a mate, maintaining a territory, raising their family, and warning other birds of danger from approaching predators.”
shouting over the music : a dawn chorus for walter and olivier was a Mini FM radio programme created for central Melbourne, which transmitted the sounds of Australian native birds in the early hours of the morning to the historic inner city site of Cathedral Arcade, a pre-Mall built in 1925, one of the city's Art Deco heritage sites, and a historic and contemporary site for artists' studios, writers groups, and other localised artist-driven cultural activity.
Through the audible (and visible) presence of many small ('bird-sized') radios distributed around the foyer's artificial plants and nested within selected shops in the arcade, as well as utilising the localised territory of transmission via Mini-FM, the physicality of radio itself becomes analogous to the presence of birds in shopping malls and other urban environments, and an audible / visible trace of the continued existence of - and need for - natural and cultural presences and spaces within the city which sit in uneasy co-existence with consumer spectacle, the 9 to 5 working week, and the territorial hegemony of mainstream communications media. Sometimes, strategic silences can work wonders - and the ability to refuse shouting over the music can be seen as tactical - it can be the silent gestures, the small sounds, that create a sense of close-listening, and a kind of intimacy, which people really notice, if they are tuned in.
transmitted audio was sourced from the archives of the Australian twitcher (bird watching) group 'urban birder', who are interested in the life of birds in association with the human built environment, as well as field recordings of spaces around melbourne, and sonic reference to Réveil des Oiseaux (Dawn Chorus), the first of 20th Century composer Oliver Messaien's sequence of works dedicated almost entirely to the sonic notation of birdsong.
shouting over the music : a dawn chorus for walter and olivier was commissioned by the Melbourne Fringe festival as part of the visible city multi-artist project in October 2010, and is part of the ongoing Radio d' Oiseaux series of live mini FM rtransmission works by radio cegeste. It was transmitted into Cathedral Arcade on the week of the 70th anniversary of the death of Walter Benjamin.