And so this is it. Cycle 1 of CurrentSoundscapes, Digging In.
Listen to the final playlist below or here on our Soundcloud, and check out more of the work from the participating artists!
Thank you to all the artists who participated from around the globe. We had a total of 68 sound art submissions over a period of 5 weeks, all guided by weekly themes. These short works came not only from artists in the USA (Alabama to California and places in between) but also from Singapore, Brazil, and Japan.
Gratitude to the wonderful curators as well. Fernando Hernandez, Leila Day, Maja Thomas, and Sxip Shirey. Each curator brought a different sonic aesthetic to this collection, yet they are united by an abiding interest and affection for humanity, not audiences. They looked for the handwork in these short sonic stories.
Here is the curated track listing.
0 – Invitation by Megan Jones
1 – Splashsong by C. Alex Clark
2 – Voicemail by Les Stuck
3 – Ambience Gamified by Sim Sadler
4 – A Wander by Ken P
5 – Quarantine Live at Alternate Days by Sara Marinelli
Here is each week’s theme followed by curatorial selection and notes.
1 – velocity vs boredom – 10 April 2020
Find and record a percussive or repetitive sound from your environment and incorporate it into your piece at two different speeds or pitches. Please do not source a sound from the internet, but rather, find and use one from your surroundings. Maximum length for this first piece is 180 seconds.
Splashsong by C Alex Clark
Notes from curator Leila Day
The use of water in this piece created not only a soundscape that was deep and dreamy, but also very percussive, using sound alone to create these rhythms that resembled the qualities of the goddess Yemanya. This may not have been intentional, but it was a unique use of very simple sounds, and it was very clear what the sounds were.
2 – ever finer details – 17 April 2020
Get a short recording of a loved one(s) in your household (or outside your household if you already have a recording, or if they can record themselves and send to you) and incorporate that voice (hiccups, laughing, yelling, singing, talking, etc) in any manner into your work — anything goes as long as you have permission from your person. Maximum 3 – 43 seconds of voice to be used in this piece. Maximum length for the total work 4 minutes 30 seconds.
Voicemail by Les Stuck
Notes from curator Maja Thomas
It is the piece that most accurately and beautifully followed the theme. The way the sound scratches after she says “scratchy” . . . the way the whispering and plosives and giggling respond to the voicemail. The poignancy of the shortness of the piece given the message. Just perfect.
3 – cavum clouds – 24 April 2020
For this piece, please include multiple recorded or created ambiences. Use 3 – 5 ambiences layered and arranged to provide a clearing for a brief solo moment. Ambiences can include conversations (make sure people give permission for recording), musical phrases, spoken word, captured moments, audio diaries, and sound scenes. Maximum length for this piece is 4 minutes 30 seconds.
Ambience Gamified by Sim Sadler
Notes from curator Fernando Hernandez
Sound art tends to lean on saturation, repetition and evoking unsettling emotions. This piece doesn’t sound like that. Somehow it made me feel that I was inside a cavum cloud, I’m the kid right in the middle of a race track, trying to cross that imaginary and dangerous street. I like that this piece sounds “organic” even though it’s layering different sources of sound. It’s clear that the piece suggests a mood but it doesn’t resort to lots of digital treatment, sounds and textures to do so.
4 – mine own hands – 1 May 2020
Conceive a piece in 3 acts or chapters, where the last chapter does not have to be the end, and the first act is not necessarily the beginning. Include in this piece at least one sound or musical phrase created by you, either with an instrument or with an object of any kind you have. You may also include spoken word. Maximum length of the finished piece is 3 minutes 30 seconds.
A Wander by Ken L
Notes from curator Sxip Shirey
First movement, great sounds. The first note is compelling. I love its muted pluck and the scrabbly sounds that come over it, like insect legs trying to work their way out of a can. Great ambient sound. LOVE the end of this movement. Second movement, great, real sounding electronic sounds, buzz, overtones and pulse. Great, could listen more. The first two movements made me curious as to how the sounds were made. They are delightful to listen to. The third movement works, a three notes synth line and a very muted scrabble underneath which is a nice place to put it in relationship to the over scrabble of the first movement. This work is very enjoyable. I listened to this one several times to write this, but honestly mostly my own pleasure. This person has sophisticated ears, and I look forward to hearing more work by them.
5 – embroidered – 8 May 2020
Create a sonic artifact that is gilded, quilted, lined, woven, or mended with threads of gold. Incorporate voice in any manner, and if possible, include a bit of a work (or works) from the previous 4 weeks of soundscapes that is not your own. Find works on Currents New Media playlists or search #CurrentsSoundscapes. Please do respectfully ensure proper attribution of any and all creators as per the Creative Commons License: Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International — CC BY-NC 4.0. Maximum length for this final piece of this cycle is 5 minutes.
Quarantine Live on Alternate Days by Sara Marinelli
Notes from curator Megan Jones
I listened to all the submissions as they came in each week so I was both anticipating and dreading making a selection for week 5, which included the option to remix from the sonic community that had gathered around this project. Choosing one submission was terrifically difficult, but in the end it seemed this piece by Sara Marinelli worked for the theme and also in concert with the other selections. It is richly quilted and layered. The nostalgia is thick but not suffocating. And I swear I could smell things when I listened – beer and incense and city streets and bay laurel. This piece was also nominated by Maja Thomas.