audio art

ayaz kamani - point pelee

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Point Pelee was produced by Ayaz Kamani. It was edited by Jess Shane.


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Ayaz says:

A friend and I went to record birds at Point Pelee in Ontario. One morning, amidst our 5 am grogginess, all the birds exploded to life simultaneously, like someone was conducting them. Like they were all conducting each other. It was beautiful, symphonic.

Naturally, we tried to record it the next morning, and even more naturally than our urge to try to record it the next day, it didn't happen. So that was hilarious. We come with all this equipment, and the most amazing sonic experience, we missed. It felt like a prank - like the birds were doing a very good prank.

I decided to try to capture that moment post-mortem. I began the painstaking and enjoyably obsessive task of resurrection. And it was very difficult. I used recordings from Point Pelee as a blanket or a bandaid to help nurture the memory from its palliative state, because it's was degrading and morphing from its original state. Those Point Pelee recordings were like touchstones, and the closest thing that I had to documentation of that experience, but the vast majority of the sounds used in the piece were sound effects from a library.

I've been cutting a lot of background sound effects lately for visual media. In this field, you're manufacturing what's natural. I've said to myself often, 'oh this isn't natural.' Yet when all the birds came together in such a rare musical way, I thought about how although this movement is part of nature, it’s considered unnatural, or feels unnatural, if it’s not in service the story being told by the visual images, or of the dialogue. Background sound always must be isolated, controlled so that nothing competes with the story.

What I create through sound design is a false representation of nature, but a constant reminder that it exists, because you're like ‘oh shit this room, no one's going to believe this room if there is no air and room tone.’ So you have to put all this stuff in to sell the room. You're always walking a fine line.

While making this piece, I thought a lot about where my urge to recreate this moment at Point Pelee really came from. What evolutionary need does it serve?

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Inspiring Ayaz in sound and beyond:

The sound of the hotel room door in the movie Barton Fink, but more than that, people at work and listening to the city while walking. I'm not sure, maybe everything, and everybody, so I guess nothing specific except for trees.

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Ayaz Kamani is an artist and sound designer, primarily for film, based in Toronto.

“I was born in Winnipeg, but only lived there for six months as a child before moving to Vancouver, so I can't truly call my self a Winnipegger. But sometimes when I feel insecure about my Canadianity due to certain questions, I clearly state that I was born in Winnipeg. Not sure where I'm going to die though, ideally on a spit of sand while a lazy tide tickles my feet, and a sand flea drinks sweat from my belly button. Currently, work-wise, I edit sound, conform dialogue, type out ADR scripts and complete a litany of post production tasks for television and movies.”

james t green - emdr

emdr

EMDR was produced by James T. Green and features C’ne Rohlsen. It airs for the first time here on Constellations.


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James says:

Whenever I was alone, I always heard this internal monologue that was trying to take over. It almost was like my conscious trying to break out. With this piece, I was trying to get down to the bottom of why I felt anxious in a world where it felt like I was losing control, either literally or conceptually.

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Inspiring James in the world of sound and beyond:

Sharon Mashihi, Kaitlin Prest, Travis Scott, SoundCloud rappers, Four Tet, Rignam Wangkhang, Some Rap Songs by Earl Sweatshirt, Adrian Piper’s visual artwork, William Forsythe’s movement work, the writing and visual projects of Jenny Odell.

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Constellations Says by Amita Kirpalani:

In a medium where the unfurling of an idea is often synthesised and made neatly linear, James T. Green’s piece offers a welcome unending. In perfect tense, “I’ve always felt this need for control”, is a musical refrain with a psychoanalytic spike. The ‘cut ins’ of conversation between James and another person who, from his explainer we learn is his partner, are positioned above a muffled or partially muted version of the motif.  These intimate exchanges are the pleasureable and painful working-it-through of togetherness, the reaching for mutual understanding while doing the mundane stuff of sharing a life, like the dishes.

Is to be in control not to speak of control? And so, is to speak of control to talk it away? Perhaps like liquid, control is temporarily holdable but not graspable and so James’ repetition is an attempt and reattempt to hang on.

American novelist and essayist Leslie Jamison describes crafting the first person of her work as a ‘throwing her voice across vast distances’ to bridge that gap between writing what you know and writing the story.  James T. Green’s ‘throw’ is taut and economical. Here is perhaps a questioning of whether ‘to know thyself’ is to remove oneself, to push that feeling-self into the background. Which, I guess is another type of journey.

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James T. Green is an audio documentarian by trade and an artist by practice. By day he works at Gimlet Creative as a producer. Previously, he was the Director of Audio at the Outline, producer at MTV News, and Graduate Lecturer at the School of the Art Institute Chicago. James also has an ongoing audio art podcast, u+1f60c. You can also subscribe to his writing project newsletter here. Find James on Twitter @_jamestgreen


dylan gauche - dr faustus begs to come

Dr Faustus Begs to Come was written, translated, performed, and produced by Dylan Gauche. An excerpt of Johann von Goethe's play served as the basis for this piece. Bayard Taylor's 1890 translation was also excerpted here. Thank you to Christian, and Gareth Stack, respectively, for reading those excerpts.

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Dylan says: 

I really just want to know what love is, and why it treats me so poorly sometimes. Even though this is far less detailed in its autobiographical elements than some other work I've done and put out into the world, it is by far my most vulnerable piece. I translated this short soliloquy from Faust in November of 2017, with the primary goal of perverting academia. But, while putting a lot of conscious effort into the play of translation, I ended up putting a lot of myself into it. A lot has changed since then, but I do struggle with the same old problems, and I wanted this piece to reflect accurately on many different stages of love.

Inspiring Dylan these days:

David Lynch is always an inspiration, in his work in film as well as in music. His album with Marek Zebrowski called "Polish Night Music" has some really interesting soundscapes, and I've been listening to that quite a bit recently. The music of Nicky Flowers. Genesis P-Orridge. Janelle Monae. 

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Dylan Gauche is a Toronto-based writer and performer. He has a movie review podcast called Film Burn, and you can check out his zines on nastymasc.itch.io. He's releasing a video game with some friends very soon, and you can hear all about that when it comes out, on Twitter and Instagram @nastymasc