Using unconventional recording techniques and studio trickery certain qualities within the Derry soundscape have been highlighted, exaggerated or distorted into something unusual and unexpected – obscuring what was once recognisable and enabling radio listeners to hear the city in a new light.
Taking the everyday sounds of the city as a starting point, a series of field recordings selected for their ambiguous qualities were played back to Derry residents; the sounds became increasingly distorted as the sequence progressed. The ambiguity was heightened through a variety of unusual recording processes including extreme close-ups, electromagnetic induction, ultrasound, binaural stereo, hydrophones and contact mics. Additionally, digital processing techniques were used to further ‘denature’ these once familiar sounds. Participants were asked to identify, describe and imitate each sound. The resulting ‘sound descriptions’ were in turn used as briefs to create artificial or exaggerated sounds matching the qualities described by subjects. In the final work, the natural and unnatural sounds of Derry are intermingled in a long form radiophonic sound composition that meanders through the city accompanied by insights and analysis of the sound environment by the people who inhabit it.
Featuring the voices: of Sarah Barr, Fiona Burke, Eamonn Brown, Amanda Doherty, Charlene Smith and Marta.
Commissioned for the ‘Derry City of Culture 2013’ radio residency broadcasts by Resonance FM and the Jerwood Foundation in association with VOID gallery.
First broadcast on Resonance 104.4 FM, October 2013.
The third programme in the ‘Bedside Radio’ series originally produced for Radio Royal (NHS Forth Valley’s hospital radio network) as part of a two-year period as digital artist in residence at the hospital.
Interview recordings of recollected dreams by patients and staff were gathered with the intention of creating a database or ‘dream bank’ to provide sleep deprived hospital patients with the opportunity of sharing someone else’s dreams. In the end this collection of dreams was plundered to create a series of composed radio dreamscapes connecting the various themes identified within the interview material. Combined with atmospheric soundbeds created from processed electronic sounds and field recordings the effect is a sort of non-narrative radio play where dream logic rules. The piece is, in part, a homage to Barry Bermange and Delia Derbyshire’s 1964 radio work, ‘Inventions for Radio: Dreams’.
Also included are readings of extracts from the dream diaries of artist, shamen and dream interpreter, Kate Walters, interviews made by Radio Royal volunteers and interviews with members of the FDAMH arts and media group.
Following the initial broadcast on the hospital’s patient monitor system this piece has also aired on Resonance 104.4FM, Soundart Radio. A new version was created specially for Radio Cona in 2017.
This project was supported by Creative Scotland and NHS Forth Valley.
Image courtesy of ‘A Sense of Someplace’
For many years I have collected found tapes; primarily voice recordings – audio letters, home karaoke and recordings made by amateur tape recording enthusiasts. I particularly enjoy the unselfconscious and accidental moments within these recordings when the equipment is being tested or the operator is unaware that they are still recording. The majority of these recordings begin with the ubiquitous: “testing, testing, 1,2,3”. This recurring phrase appears in my collection time and time again in an array of different voices, accents and languages. The piece I have created from these incidents is literally a test signal – a collage of recordings of microphone tests compiled from my own archives.
Produced by Mark Vernon. Commissioned by Pixel Palace for Basic FM, Newcastle upon Tyne.
This piece was first broadcast on a continuous loop for a month as Basic FM’s inaugural webcast. It has since been aired on Radiophrenia, Radio Revolten and Resonance 104.4 FM as part of the series ‘Data for the Doubtful’.
Vernon & Burns with Nichola Scrutton / Ingrid Plum / ShadowPlay / Hardworking Families
VERNON & BURNS WITH NICHOLA SCRUTTON
Vernon & Burns are a duo of sound makers who create radio plays, records and performances through an innovative mix of samples, field recordings, voice and music. This show sees them come together in a special one-off collaboration with the magnificent composer, sound artist and experimental vocalist Nichola Scrutton, whose work spans a range of self-directed projects and interdisciplinary, participatory collaborations.
Ingrid Plum uses her voice with extended technique, improvisation, field recordings and electronics, to create layered soundscapes, spoken word and songs. Having performed and exhibited installation sound art and visual art since 2002, she creates work that sits between sound art, improvisation, multi-media installation, neo-classical and contemporary Nordic folk music.
Live arts collective Colliding Lines present Shadowplay, a unique, cinematic experiment in live literature. Suspended in a dark auditorium, the audience are alone save for white words projected into the pitch black canvas. Around them a soundtrack emerges; a post-apocalyptic score improvised by sound artists Jacob and Reuben Kyriakides. It is a story about the power of language to make reality and, inevitably, undo it – a story of what happens when stories fail, written in words that are taking themselves apart.
Hardworking Families is Tom Bench’s solo sound-play interrogation. Working with no-input mixer feedback, tapes, objects, and occasionally instruments, intuitive textural adventures will coax your ears with visceral flavours.
Remnant Kings, Cassette (C45, 50/50)
Cosmovisión Registros, 2017
A new limited edition tape only album out now on Chilean label Cosmovisión Registros. Available in the UK through Penultimate Press.
Bits and bobs. Odds and ends. Scraps and leftovers. Remnant Kings takes its name from a Glasgow fabric store that historically dealt in offcuts, end of line textiles and fabric remnants.
The cassette consists of a series of audio collages based around a single found reel to reel tape. It gathers various home recordings from the 60’s and 70’s in a ‘best of’ compilation spanning a twenty year period – a kind of ‘Greatest Hits’ family album in sound. The found tape included, amongst other things; baby talk, a toy railway set, playing and practicing music, bird song, conversation, karaoke style sing-alongs and some home experiments with tape echo, along with popular music of the day.
In addition to the found material other sound sources include whistling, water droplets on a hot plate, broken ice, creaking gates, an electric fan played with a brush, excerpts from improvised sessions with open reel tape manipulation, feedback and electronics plus various other field recordings.
In a last minute addition to the bill I will be performing a new set at the Glad Cafe supporting Helm tomorrow night.
Helm & Mark Vernon + Mark Maxwell (DJ)
19.30, Friday 31st March 2017.
Tickets £8 adv / £10 on the door – available from Music Glue
1006a Pollokshaws Road,
More details here