Rebel Notion No. 9 – E0016 – Greatness, Fame, and, perhaps, a little Envy

img_0010

In April 2016, my Aunt sent my siblings and me an email asking if one of us would like to take some of my grandfather’s memorabilia off her hands, since her children were not interested.   I was the one that accepted and found myself with approximately 250 cassette tapes spread over about 23 binders.   They included tapes that Grandpa was surely making when I would visit him as a child.  My recollection was of him recording music off the radio, using a reel to reel tape recorder, a cigarette dangling off one corner of his mouth, squinting in the smoke, one eye trained on me, asking what instrument I was planning to become proficient in, as he prepared to verbally annotate the recordings via his microphone. In those days, my grandfather surely saw musical content as free and did not bother to concern himself with any copyright issues associated with what he was doing.   As it turned out he was creating an audio library for a friend or colleague named Edward; someone to whom he had actually willed the collection to.  Edward never received the collection.  I don’t know his last name, or where he might have lived.   Maybe it’s all for the better.    Despite Grandpa’s meticulous cataloguing of the material, most of it can be found free on the internet today. Much of that is better sound quality than what my grandfather was able to get off the air from Niagara Falls New York, Toronto, Buffalo or other stations he could find.  When he died on January 1, 1982, he was still in the process of creating this special musical library for his friend.

I looked at the mound of binders on the floor and calculated how long it might take me to copy all the content from them to my PC.   Easily six months I estimated.   It took me almost ten.    I ended up with 213 hours of classical music, one hour of Grandpa providing commentary, introductions, and unfiltered opinion, and another twenty-three hours of music and radio broadcaster voice fragments. Some of it is ripe for interpretation and experimentation.    No sooner had I completed the initial sorting of the material, then I rolled up my sleeves to see what interesting sound pieces I could make to both acknowledge his labour, honour his memory, and have some audio fun.

The piece you can listen to below, I call Greatness and Fame.   Evidently, his favourite flutist was Sir James Galway and he devoted a lot of time recording pieces that Galway was featured in.  My grandfather seems to idolize and be awe struck by him, asserting him as a powerful, wealthy, and superior craftsman of his art.  Grandpa himself was a musician in his youth.  He was a member of the Toronto Symphony and the CBC Orchestras in the 1930s.  He played a variety of woodwind and brass instruments.  He gave it all up, though to go into the retail clothing business.  So what happened?   What if there was a little frustration and perhaps sour grapes that he, himself, never became world renowned?

For this piece I used  some of my grandfather’s tape audio of Galway playing and cut out some parts.  I then overlaid audio of my grandfather introducing some of Galway’s performances that he had recorded.  Best listened to with headphones.

Equipment and Resources Used: Honestech Audio Recorder 

Length: 8m43s  16mb

Rebel Notion No. 9 – 0015 – Kelly Richardson Installation – Mariner 9 – Haunting Audio

Kelly Richardson's Mariner 9 Installation as part of Shine a Light
Kelly Richardson’s Mariner 9 Installation as part of Shine a Light

In February 2015, I visited the National Gallery in Ottawa.  At the exhibition called “Canadian Biennial 2014” I wandered into an installation by Kelly Richardson.   The sound that went along with the video installation filled the room.   I was spellbound.

From the following link:  http://kellyrichardson.net/?page_id=1229

“As part of Shine a Light, Kelly Richardson’s recently acquired large-scale video installation Mariner 9 will be presented in the Contemporary Art Galleries. Mariner 9 presents a 48 foot by 10 foot panoramic view of a Martian landscape set hundreds of years into the future, littered with the rusting remains from various missions to the planet. Despite its suggested abandoned state, several of the spacecraft continue to partially function, to do their intended jobs, to ultimately find signs of life, possibly transmitting the data back to no one.

Mariner 9 was created using scenery-generation software employed by the film and gaming industries in combination with technical data from NASA’s missions to Mars to produce a faithful artist’s rendering of Martian terrain, populated by the debris from centuries of exploration through real and imagined spacecraft in the centre of a dust storm”

Equipment Used:  Zoom H2 Recorder with Roland CS-10EM Binaural Microphones.

Rebel Notion No. 9 – 0014 – Prince Edward County Study – Spring Tries to Break Through

Waterfall over ice and rock by the side of the road in Prince Edward County Ontario on a very cold spring morning.
Waterfall over ice and rock by the side of the road in Prince Edward County Ontario on a very cold spring morning.

Spring waterfall over ice and rock #2.  By the side of the road –  March 23 2015 11:09am Prince Edward County.  It was sunny and very very cold -10c. Equipment Used:  Zoom H2 Recorder with Roland CS-10EM Binaural Microphones.

Rebel Notion No. 9 – 0013 – Prince Edward County Study – Water Rumbles Beneath the Snow and Ice

Ice and Snow on Lake Ontario by the side of the road in Prince Edward County Ontario on a very cold spring day.
Ice and Snow on Lake Ontario by the side of the road in Prince Edward County Ontario on a very cold spring day.

Water rumbles beneath the snow and ice  with birds on Lake Ontario March 23 2015 12:13pm Prince Edward County. It was sunny and very very cold – 10c.  Equipment Used:  Zoom H2 Recorder with Roland CS-10EM Binaural Microphones

Rebel Notion No. 9 – 0012 – Prince Edward County Study – Spring Waterfall Over Rock and Ice

Waterfall Over Ice and Rock - By the Side of the Road in Prince Edward County Ontario
Waterfall Over Ice and Rock – By the Side of the Road in Prince Edward County Ontario

Waterfall Over Ice and Rock by the Side of the Road March 23 2015 11:05am Prince Edward County Ontario.  It was very sunny and very very cold -10c.  Equipment Used:  Zoom H2 Recorder with Roland CS-10EM Binaural Microphones.

Rebel Notion No. 9 – 0011 – Prince Edward County Study – Spring Snow over Gravel

Prince Edward County - By the Road on a Spring Morning
Prince Edward County – By the Road on a Spring Morning

Walking on Spring Snow Over Gravel March 23 2015 11:22am Prince Edward County Ontario. It was sunny and Very Very Cold. -10c. Equipment Used: Zoom H2 Recorder with Roland CS-10EM Binaural Microphones.

Rebel Notion No. 9 – 0009 – New York City Subway Ride Autumn 2014

1-IMG_5398
Grand Central 42nd Street Station – New York City. Picture taken Sep 19 2014

New York City Subway – September 18 2014 at around 17:20pm.   Travelling from Bleecker Street to 42nd Street Grand Central Station.  The audio has been edited and time slightly compressed to emphasize certain audio elements and vocal idiosyncrasies.

Listen:  (5m36s  10Mb)

 

Equipment used: Zoom H2 and Roland – CS-10EM – Binaural Microphones/Earphones

Rebel Notion No. 9 – 0007 – As The Permafrost Thaws

Bridges collapse June 2008 in Pangnirtung, Nunavut
Bridges collapse June 2008 in Pangnirtung, Nunavut

This piece uses approximately four minutes of audio from the documentary :  Inuit Knowledge and Climate Change.  Pangnirtung, Nunavut residents speak in their native tongue about a flash flood that occurred in June 2008.  The flash flood caused the collapse of two bridges that connect the north and south end of the community over the Duval River.  The bridges were built on the community’s permafrost.  The permafrost in the northern latitudes is becoming unstable for their infrastructure as it thaws.   I do voice over English translation using the documentary’s subtitles. The audio is 3 minutes and 47 seconds long.  I recorded the voice over using Audacity, Alesis Multimix 8 USB Mixer, and Apex microphone connected to my Ubuntu server.

Download as : Rebel Notion No 9 Episode 0007 (3mb 3m47s)

Interested in seeing the Prezi presentation that goes along with it?   See:  http://prezi.com/pkqtxbc50z7r/the-effect-of-permafrost-on-northern-canadian-locales/?utm_campaign=share&utm_medium=copy

Ninja is an unapologetic Climate Change freak.

Hot Fossils and Rebel Matters 211 – Let’s End With the Bees

The Black Solitary Bee that Sarah Found

In my fourth and final installment of sound and visual art and artists I recorded at the Toronto Electro-Acoustic Symposium this summer, I end with the bees.   After-all  I started the series with bees for Hot Fossils and Rebel Matters number 208.  In this show I learn a lot.  For example – that there are at least 800 varieties of bees in Canada.  Bees evolved from wasps.   And so did ants.  Many of these are solitary bees.  There are many varieties of solitary bees.  These are bees that do not live in hives, but instead burrow into discarded dead stalks and wood. They are not the least bit interested in us, just collecting pollen and nurturing their young to maturity.  I catch up with Sarah Peebles and learn all about one of her prototype  Audio Bee Booths – a habitat she created for solitary bees.   (In the background of this soundscene/interview you can also hear the sound of children playing and airplanes flying overhead.)

One Side of the Audio Bee Booth 2010 Prototype

Listen up:

Or right-click to download:  HotFRM 211 (75mb 40:00)

Equipment used:  Apex 415 for intro.  Zoom H2 and Roland – CS-10EM – Binaural Microphones/Earphones for soundscape and interview.

Another View of Sarah’s Solitary Black Bee

Hot Fossils and Rebel Matters 210 – The Pink and The Purple

Pink and Purple with Hector Centeno

From her website we read that:

Alexandra Gelis is a Colombian-Venezuelan visual artist based in Toronto, Canada. She holds an MFA degree from York University, Toronto, Canada.  Her work incorporates photography, video, electronics and digital processes…Gelis’ work addresses the use of image relation to topics of displacement, landscape, and politics. One of the prevalent concerns in her work is to unveil the relationship between landscape, history, people, geopolitics and the diverse techniques for achieving subjugation of bodies and population… As an educator/facilitator in video and photography she has led workshops with youth in disadvantaged communities in Canada, Colombia, and Panama. Her work has been shown internationally in several venues and galleries in Canada, Venezuela, Colombia, Panama, Argentina and the United States. She has developed curatorial projects, video screenings, and programs for festivals in Latin America and Canada.

On August 15, this summer, Alexandra unveiled her installation called Raspao/Snow Cones. This installation in her own words is

…a moving sound sculpture vehicle that makes Snow Cones to sell them. It is also equipped with electronic components that capture, reproduce, mix and record sounds and video in real time. Customers and bystanders create sound compositions by mixing sounds in real time from the surrounding environment and the sound made by the internal components of the cart.  The Snow Cone vehicle is a food cart, a hybrid vehicle, a mixture of a Raspao cart used in Colombia to sell snow cones and the food carts that Portuguese and Greek Canadians use for selling roasted nuts and other sweet goods in Toronto. Snow Cones is also a sound piece that aims to open a space for social interaction, a place of meeting and conversation.

Of her relationship with the experience of snow cone machines she writes:

When it was very hot in Cartagena, Colombia, as a child I will buy an ice cone and I will eat it lying down on the beautiful decorated and cold tile floor in my house. The installation is a product of a private performance in the back of my house in Toronto, dealing with childhood memories. I paint on the snow using fuchsia ink (reminiscences of Ice Cone or “Raspaos”) tiles with arabesques as in the floor in my house in Cartagena. At the end I laid down naked on the snow trying to recuperate these impossible memories. Hot – Cold, Fuchsia – Childhood – Moments.

Raspao/Snow Cone Machine by Alexandra Gelis

In my third episode of four shows featuring artists at the Toronto Electroacoustic Symposium, 2012 join me now during the opening of this installation and interview with the artist:

or Download HotFRM 210 (45mb 24m11s)

Equipment used:  Apex 415 for intro.  Zoom H2 and Roland – CS-10EM – Binaural Microphones/Earphones for soundscape and H2 native mics for the interview.

You can find the links to Alexandra Gelis’ sites @

http://www.alexandragelis.com/i_raspao.php

http://www.alexandragelis.com/i_tosuperpose.php

http://raspao.net/

The Audio Processor Up Close