Release: 22 August 2023
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Sound is everywhere. It exists on so many scales at times it is difficult to grasp. Its energies intertwine with the wider systems of a city, bleeding beyond borders and passing through our perceived boundaries. Many of these intersecting energies are imperceptible to humans. Even spaces we consider quiet are, in fact, extremely busy, full of action and energy. To produce Vanishing Points, I documented how some of these urban flows intersect with my own everyday movements, and how I also contribute to them by recording the quiet space of my home as I cook and work; the quiet path surrounded by trees on the old railway line where I often run; the busy trains as I commute across the southwest of England; the crowded London tube lines; and the flow of people and traffic in the dense urban environments of Brixton and Bristol. As I traverse these spaces through stereo and electromagnetic field recordings, it becomes clear how everyday scenarios brim with life and activity, more than we might dare to imagine.
I recorded these urban movements using various types of field recordings such as an electromagnetic sensor, my smartphone, as well as stereo microphones connected to a small Zoom F3 field recorder. This semi-documental sonic drift and exploratory journey collates these various types of unprocessed field recordings and set them alongside heavily transformed recordings of electromagnetic pulses that underwent various iterations of sound processing until they became an evolving drone present throughout the composition.
These flows are a consequence of, and crucial part of, what it means to participate in contemporary societies, however, they are believed to negatively impact humans and other animals. This intense sonic abundance may well suggest a tragic future for urban environments, but perhaps instead we can consider what we can learn from these movements and contribute to alternative futures.
Vanishing Points is part of my larger artistic research on interconnectivity and extended critical listening methodologies for listening with, through and for, which includes various live performance iterations of the album Sunnyside released by Crónica in 2020; Multiple Perceptions of the Everyday Unfolded: The Case Study of Sunnyside, an academic journal article published on the Journal of Sonic Studies in January 2022; Echoes, a wandering concert for the European night of museums at Cité de l’Architecture et du Patrimoine in Paris, a collaboration between SONCITIES and Eric de Visscher; critical listening workshops led by the SONCITIES research team; and this album, which combines traces of my movements in various urban spaces and their dialogue with the electromagnetic pulses around me.
This project has received funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme as part of the project Sonorous Cities: Towards a Sonic Urbanism (grant agreement No 865032)