Dawn Birds, Light Traffic, Melodic Machines is a 58:00 sonic narrative collage composed of field recordings from different places—Dubai, Victoria, and Vancouver—at different times. This combination seeks to foreground, through either sonic simularity or serendipity, soundscapes that are representative of fluid time and place but solidly grounded in rich listening experiences.
Format: MPEG audio
Bit Rate: 320 kbs
Sample Rate: 44,100 kHz
Creator: John F. Barber
Original/Edited Files Available: Yes
Rights and Status: All rights reserved. Available for broadcast, installation, exhibition, and/or publication with permission.
Image: Martian rock outcropping "Gasconade" photographed by NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity, 2 Oct. 2016.
Framework Radio focuses on field recording of sonic sources and their use in compositions. Featuring juried work by international sound artists, Framework Radio's goal is to present not only the extremely diverse sound environments of our world, but also the extremely diverse work that is being produced by the artists who choose to use these environments as their sonic sources. The research and creative question behind Framework Radio programming asks, "Is field recording a style or genre, or rather an uncontrollable and undefinable tool as any, that may be interpreted, manipulated, and appropriated by anyone with a microphone and idea?" Works produced in response to this question are the answer, the definition, not vice versa. Based in Põlgaste, Põlva County, in southeast Estonia, Framework Radio began broadcasting in June 2002 on Resonance 104.4 FM in London. Episodes are now broadcast on radio stations around the world.
I have created several episodes for Framework Radio, an international showcase of field recording, phonography, and sound hunting, curated by international sound, performance, and radio artist Patrick McGinley (aka murmer).
#808 Dawn Birds, Light Traffic, Melodic Machines, 3-9 July 2022
#738 COVID Dreamscapes, 13-19 December 2020
#711 Coho Crossing, 26 April - 2 May 2020
#658 Rainstorm Reveries, 21-27 October 2018
#623 In Progress, 17 December 2017 - 13 January 2018
#583 Transect: London, 29 January 2016 - 4 February 2017
#542 Water, Waves, Dreams, 31 January - 6 February 2016
#433 Between Sleep and Dreams, 9-15 September 2013
#405 Ambient Pulsations, 6 February - 6 March 2013
#389 Tell Me A Story about Meditation, 23-30 September 2012
#386 Meditation, 2-8 September 2012
#381 Contact, 12-14 July 2012
There are many definitions for soundscapes. At the heart of each is the idea of "sounds that might be heard at a particular place." This gives the field recordist and/or sound artist large latitude. Including creating collages of sounds heard in different places at different times.
Collage is at the heart of this work, Dawn Birds, Light Traffic, Melodic Machines, which uses field recordings made in Dubai, Victoria, and Vancouver.
Why collage? Consider the landscape painter and the field recordist. A landscape painter cannot capture all the details and nuances of any particular place. She creates a representation. Chooses which different details to include. And which to set aside. She creates collages, renderings, from witness and imagination.
The field recordist may also follow this approach to collage. Sounds recorded at one location, at one time, may connect, through either sonic simularity or serendipity, with sounds recorded at another location, at a different time. The results are soundscapes representative of fluid time and place but solidly grounded in rich listening experiences.
Both the landscape painter and the field recordist produce compositions interpretating, describing, and documenting a place, in time. As noted, collage may be at the heart of any artifacts created in this process. But there is also the sense of realism conveyed by either the painting or the soundscape. This realism evolves from the process of making and considering what is captured by the painter's brush and/or the field recordist's microphone.
Shifting focus solely to the field recordist, and specifically my practice, composing a soundscape is often a process of selecting, editing, and juxtaposing elements of different recordings to create a sense of a place. To promote a believable experience of being in that space. This sense of structure and reality comes from active aural engagement for both myself and those who listen to my works.
To establish and maintain that engagement, this work, Dawn Birds, Light Traffic, Melodic Machines, seeks to promote a representative soundscape. A constructed scenario that connects realistic sounds in new and exploratory ways. That asks listeners to pay attention to aural details of different, often divergent, acoustic environments. And find in their overlap and interplay connecting sound textures.
Soundscapes then not only provide ways of understanding places through their sounds, but prompt listeners to explore new ways of understanding those places through listening. Specificly, soundscapes like Dawn Birds, Light Traffic, Melodic Machines offer two opportunities for listeners. First, such soundscapes foreground the aural world. They push one to listen to and contemplate the sounds that might be heard. Second, soundscapes can help listeners engage with unique features and affordances of the sonic environment. To cultivate ways of hearing places.