‘Count your blessings, name them one by one’ (Johnson Oatman (1856–1926), ‘When Upon Life’s Billows you are Tempest Tossed’).
WFH: DAY 53/LENT 22. 8.00 am: Bloom:
8.30 am: The wind sucked and exhaled throughout the streets and roads. On the Avenue, runners braved, and walkers wrapped themselves about with padded coats and dogs, as they faced-down the forward draft. I made my way, at speed, across the town and Promenade, where waves rose-up a building high and slammed upon the road beneath.
9.30 am: Studiology. My final day on the mastering. By the close of the afternoon, the CD project would be in my DropBox share, awaiting pick-up by the record company. First, a review (on the near-field monitors) of the tracks in order, and in order to check for consistency of volume and loudness across the whole suite. The album had taken exactly one year, from conception to completion. I recognised the sounds of pain and anger in the spirits’ screams. I recognised the sounds of industry beneath the surface of the rural. In the next project — PitWorks [working title] — they’ll come to the fore. But before I commence that, the dedicated ‘Noisome Spirits’ website would need to be completed, and an appraisal made of the equipment required to undertake the new endeavour. I want also to take a break from composition, so that I can explore new modes of processing found sound. (I want to play, in other words.) 11.00 am: Optimisation had been achieved.
I anticipate that my playfulness will be based on an interview with my paternal grandfather (‘Pop’), Oliver Rees (at centre of the photograph). It was recorded at 2.45 pm+ on February 5, 1989, in Nantyglo Hospital, Monmouthshire. He’d been a miner and overman at Beynon’s Colliery, Blaina, in that county. The discussion was about his life and work in the mine. My ambition is to embed his voice in the new compositions, just as his good influence, character, and sense of dignity has been embedded in my life.
12.30 pm: The sound, image, and text files were ready to be dispatched. Done! 1.30 pm: Clean-up! Project files were culled, folders moved, and material, archived. It was like moving house: ‘How much of this stuff can I afford to keep?’ (In the background: The Sound Projector Music Magazine & Radio Show.) As I rummaged through my ‘cupboards’, I alighted upon a sound recording that I’d made at the Swiss Centre (built 1966), Leicester Square, London. It’s of the original glockenspiel, which used to chime and parade its carved figures on the hour — attracting quite a crowd. The building was demolished in 2008, and the glockenspiel refurbished, redesigned, and installed elsewhere. I took no photograph of the device on that occasion. The ‘audiograph’ is my only abiding ‘image’ of that moment. It’s one which embodies lived experience in real time. The ‘image’ encodes space, the complexities of multiple voices, and footfall, while featuring the sonic phenomenon that had inspired the recording. The sound was captured at 7.03 pm on Thursday, April 21, 2005:
Signs of the times:
5.00 pm: ‘Shut down’.