St Livres Binaural Phonographic Documentary


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Dallas Simpson

My personal approach to phonographic documentary uses the following principles:

1) The aim is to capture the sound of the location itself, without using the human voice directly either as narrative or commentary.

2)The recording is made from a human perspective, hence the use of in-ear binaural recording to give a personal perspective of an individual
inhabiting, travelling through and engaging with the location. It is a form of ‘Sound Walk’.

3) This documentary is purely observational and does not involve environmental performance.

4) Movement through the location allows an element of spatial choreography – the composition of movements of sounds in space and placement of sound elements in the 3-D perceptual sound space.

For this work I wanted to capture certain signature ‘sound marks’ of the locality – particularly the cowbells and the fountains. Local human habitation was present as occasional incidental background voices and was alluded to in the traffic passes. My footsteps, occasional breathing noises and personal incidentals are indicators of a human presence as narrator, but this narration is through sonic witness, not through any spoken commentary.

The main characters in this documentary are the fountains. They speak with unique voices and illuminate the character of the streets and buildings through subtle echoes and reverberation. So, in a sense, the fountains sonically illuminate and describe the village. Occasional stirring of the wind adds additional atmosphere.

What was fascinating was the synergy of the ‘random gamelan-like’ cowbells and the watery ‘tinkes’ of the fountains. These local and distant sounds percolate the village and weave together the mystery of the sonic narrative of St Livres, thus allowing the location, in a sense, to ‘speak for itself’.

Dallas Simpson, August 2011


20. August 2011 by
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  1. Pingback: | Mikel R. Nieto » Blog Archive » LEA | Dallas Simpson

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