The indescribably chilling sound, recorded on the ocean bottom, using hydrophones belonging to a group researching undersea volcanism, of the magnitude 9.0 earthquake that tore up Eastern Japan in March 2011. The sound has been sped-up 16 times. Lots more information, and a second recording, on the Vents Program’s web site.
This is surprising and charming. Stanley Kubrick, that most severe of creative forces, is positively playful in this interview with journalist Jeremy Bernstein from 1966. He talks about his college days and his early work as a photographer.
These two recordings made for a lovely ride home from work today. Both are from Touch Radio, which is the podcast of unorthodox record label Touch, founded thirty years ago by Cabaret Voltaire member and elite sound recordist Chris Watson and friends Jon Wozencroft (thanks to Mike Harding for correcting me on Touch’s origins in a comment).
The first is called ‘Bells‘ and it was recorded in the tower of St. Mary’s Church, Walthamstow. A sequence of peals, some simple, some quite complicated. It’s haunting. Concentrate and it’s like a trip back to the origins of music – something so primitive (not in the pejorative sense) about these primal rhythms and tones (a counterpoint, by the way, to this amazing new work by Howard Skempton, scored for church bells – available for another couple of days on the Radio 3 web site. Also, you can hear church bells every Sunday morning on Radio 4).
The second is a lovely conversation with two collectors and restorers of historic film projectors, David Cleveland & Nigel Lister. Their knowledge and enthusiasm is hugely endearing and the sounds of the projectors themselves, one of which dates back to 1904, are amazingly subtle and intriguing. Also a quite gripping journey here – across the history of moving pictures to the halls and parlours where the first films were shown. Further testament to the special power of sound too, if you needed it. Not that you needed it.
If the Occupy movement has a sound it’s the mic check – the sound of a crowd arriving at a consensus without the aid of amplification. Invented specifically to circumvent the prohibition of megaphones and PAs in the public spaces occupied, the mic check (or human mic) is an almost insanely polite, maddeningly slow means of communication that’s as much about the rather self-conscious rejection of hierarchy as it is about passing a message across an open space. Mic checks are now used as a means of protest and disruption too – George W. Bush’s Chief of Staff Karl Rove was singled out for a mic check at a recent speaking engagement. He wasn’t happy.
Something extraordinary going on here. IM Rawes is building a finely-textured archive of London sounds, published under posterity-friendly licences and with a range of clever ways to access the audio (maps, historic and current, being the main way in). I’m somewhat in awe – and quite excited about being able to contribute my own sounds via the Soundcloud dropbox. This one – I could have chosen dozens – is a lovely suburban snapshot recorded on Horsendenhill golf course in North-West London. A minute of stereo sound, recorded by IM Rawes, including all the signature sounds you’d expect: “rumble of distant traffic with sirens, bird song,” and, my favourite bit “occasional thwack of golf clubs.”
Kindly recorded for me (in binaural ‘headphone mode’) by my thirteen year-old son Oliver. I’ve always been intrigued by the sound of the great battles and quests unfolding on the screen when he’s playing World of Warcraft. So he’s recorded eight minutes from a level-74 instance – in this case a dungeon, which is a challenge for five players in which they kill bosses and mobs, win rewards, gain EXP (experience) and reputation. You’ll hear: the beginning of the dungeon, the player dying and running to his corpse, the despatching of many mobs (‘mobiles’, non-player entities), the attack on the boss, lots of running and gunshots, the voice of a dragon, the summoning of pets, some aspect switching and map rustling. In short, the whole experience!
From Ubuweb, of course. Joyce is reading – in a lovely, comical brogue – a passage about Anna Livia Plurabelle. I might tell you something about ALP but that would be to give you the impression that I have read the book. I have not read the book. Sylvia Beach, proprietor of legendary Paris bookshop Shakespeare and Company, who paid for the recording, at HMV’s factory near Paris in 1924, introduces it here. A blast of warm air from the same year in which Gershwin wrote his Rhapsody in Blue.