Voices of Teesside
EPAX Pharma UK Ltd. → Seal Sands

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Voices of Teesside
EPAX Pharma UK Ltd. → Seal Sands

by Scott Riby

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54.6250651448, -1.24631792307
54.6251645237, -1.24631792307

FIELD NOTES

“Everyday life is full of three-dimensional sound experiences. The ability of humans to make sense of their environments and to interact with them depends strongly on the spatial awareness and hearing plays a major part in this process.” (Rumsey, 2001)

Scholars, musicians and human geographers alike have studied space and its attributes for years, attempting to dissect the individual qualities that are presented to us (the audience); many believing one cannot perceive space by simply listening. This project supports a DIY aesthetic with regards to the recording process and the outcome; particular influences being David Tremlett’s ‘The Spring Recordings’ (1972) and William Furlong’s ‘Voice Over’ (1998).

The composition contains telephone conversations with eight residents from the conurbation of Teesside, who had previously worked/ were currently working for the chemical and steel industry. Each of these speakers is assigned to one of eight channels, yet inside the one’s head, the voices envelope the listener leaving the audio static, motionless and uneventful. To create a sense of ‘in-situ’, recorded sound from EPAX is implemented and panned to create phantom images of the environment the callers are describing.

As one listens to the composition, the movement of the audio simulates the feeling of walking from room to room inside the site at EPAX and being greeted by the individual sound properties around them. Recorded using binaural microphones, this gave me the space and mental image of, not only where the sounds were located on-site at EPAX, but the distance between the sound source and I.

Listener’s are encouraged to attentively listen to each individual conversation. Syntactically and narratively speaking, they are equally unique in their own right. This ultimately gives listeners the option to take control of the composition and to structurally hear and interpret it in their own way.

Thanks to Paul Nuttall and Peter Trickett at EPAX for their assistance and patience while escorting me around the site, and to Phil Parkin for arranging the session for me. Thanks also to Barry Garner, Bernard Beeston, Bob Lake, Eric Blenkinsopp, Kevin Shepherd, Mike Dixon, and Gordon and Valerie Brown for making this composition possible. Without their fantastic tales of old and new, I would have never envisioned how poetic life in Teesside can be.

I began my career as a musician, primarily playing drum kit and percussion (amongst other instruments) for a number of ensembles based in and around the North-East of England; where I am originally from.

Moving to London in 2013, however, allowed me to really expand my vocabulary and showcase my ability, performing with some extremely talented artists and players. I am an experienced musician and constantly looking for new ways and opportunities to collaborate with fellow practitioners.

Graduating from both Manchester Metropolitan University (2012) and Goldsmiths, University of London (2015), with a bachelors degree in Music and masters in the Sonic Arts, has given me the chance to develop my skills as a composer and sound artist.

Receiving a number of commissions in the past, I have written music and created works for some reputable organisations. This includes generative music/ performances, interdisciplinary collaborations, sound art installations and compositions for moving image media/ film.

In addition to this, I also teach music in compulsory and further education, and guest-lecture on occasion at several universities including Manchester Metropolitan and Teesside. I am currently training to complete my PGCert this summer (2016), qualifying with QTS upon graduation.

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