Just as architects integrate elements in the surrounding environment into the work, musicians can incorporate ambient sounds into the music.
Using mobile devices, users can create "soundtracks" that blend natural ambient sound with composed sound or music.
Indoor and outdoor locations with unique ambient sound characteristics are scouted, recorded, then pieces are composed that blend in the background elements.
Music For Places is essentially an attempt at a synergy between extramusical sounds naturally occurring in spaces and music scored against it--such that every time you return to the place, there is a piece already composed for it. (Like a sound sculpture).
The works can also serve a documentary function to preserve sounds of places after they are razed or relocated.
THOUGHTS ON FIELD AUDIO
(On Foreground/Background Elements...)
Places sometimes have sounds which have pitch, such as mechanical sounds of motors or squeaky ceiling fans. In a context of attempting to use this as background for music, one would have to scout locations where this is happening continuously and record it. I was in a grocery store once where there was an old freezer that was emanating a G natural (or something), along with a rhythmic squeak, and I though 'I wish I had a way to record this! Of Course, one would have to go back there once the music is composed to get the full effect, and the freezer might have been replaced. [more...]
When you hear something for the second time, your mind returns to 'memory landmarks' set on first hearing, and are automatically recalled on second review. [more...]
The Changing Uses of Field Recordings
Field recording is the analog to documentary photography. It has a profound impact if it is encoded to other memories that may have taken place in that location. Even if you don't know who they are or where it is, you can fill in your own narrative. In essence, field recordings are staged recordings, similar to staged photography. They capture the essences that might have been there more vividly than if they were taken as a 'snapshot'. Snapshot recording is done without preparation or planning, and relies on chance to capture the place--whereas field recording has clearer objectives. [more...]