sound collage

craig desson - 06-30-24

06-30-24 was written and produced by Craig Desson. 

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Craig says: 

First of all, don't worry, this 'experimental audio' piece is short.  It won't take more than four minutes of your time.  I promise you won't be bored. Second, picture what your hearing looks like.  Then this piece will be like watching a movie of somebody else's dream; which is fun! 

I love the work of the 60s era NFB experimental filmmaker Arthur Lipsett and so I wanted to try and do what he does. The piece is also an exploration of the digital subconscious that exists on my MacBook.  It's made up of sounds on my hard drive that I recorded over the last year that just felt right together. 

I tried to never work tired.  The moment my creative juices started to ebb, I put this away.  So it was always fun.   It was an experiment to put this quote from Ernest Hemingway into practice: The best way is always to stop when you are going good and when you know what will happen next. If you do that every day when you are writing a novel you will never be stuck. That is the most valuable thing I can tell you so try to remember it.

What's inspiring Craig the worlds of audio and beyond:

My hero is Adam Curtis. He's a filmmaker at the BBC who makes brilliant political documentary series using their archives. His films are the most epic stories one can imagine. One film tracks Freud's idea of psychoanalysis through the history of public relations over a century. Another film, (three hours long!) follows the history of Islamic extremism and neo-conservatism from the end of the cold war to September 11. Curtis's most recent series is called Hyper-Normalization and it's about how politics has become a surreal/bizarre theater to keep people confused.  Sound like anything you know?    

The other great thing about his films are 90 percent of them are just him talking over archival clips.  But, the writing is crystal clear and the narrative arch's so lean that it unrolls brilliantly. Also, he finds all these strange serendipitous moments in the archives you never see on TV.  So, it doesn't look anything like a regular news documentary. 

And finally! The opening montage to the Power of Nightmares is just amazing editing/storytelling.

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Constellations says:

"Every monastery should have a room like this." What a perfect snip of tape.

We love this piece for its intimate, collected quality - sparkling snapshots, bits and pieces pulled from recordings, archives, in-between moments. Each clip is like a little secret that the producer lets us wonder about (and with its spacious pacing, wander about, too). Maybe this also has something to do with the title of the piece, which was Craig's high school locker combination. Through the frame of meditation, Craig's 06-30-24 embodies the tension of a mind attempting calm in a loud world.

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Craig Desson creates audio and video, along with written things in the journalism genre and mostly for the internet.  Follow him on Twitter @craigdesson.

adriene lilly - migraines & tsunamis

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Migraines & Tsunamis was composed and produced by Adriene Lilly.

It remixes original recordings with found sounds, found stories and archival audio and is part of a series of work detailing invisible and reoccurring pain experiences.

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Adriene writes: 

This piece is definitely the most obviously personal piece I’ve made. I’m also very interested in finding a balance between audio documentary, storytelling and sound art - so it’s part of my constant struggle to do that.

The comparison between migraine and tsunamis comes from how I think about my own experiences. Migraines are different for everyone, but in my case there are a couple of warning signs that I tend to get in the hours or days before an attack. They are things like horrible dry mouth, I can’t stop yawning and become very depressive. I think about them as the ocean drawback that can happen before a tsunami. There no pain at that point, but I always know that soon the wave will come in and my entire body will be temporarily destroyed (extreme pain, vomiting, diarrhea). I think anyone who experiences some kind of internal, invisible but frequently, reoccurring pain ends up using some kind of external imagery or analogy in order to both explain to others, but also to yourself, what exactly the pain is. I think it’s also a way to identify it as something real, because it’s so easy to start thinking that you’re just making the whole thing up... and that’s a particularly scary thought process.

I make a lot of work using found sound. I think about it like sampling for documentary. Not a new technique, but definitely one I think leaves a lot of room to get into new aesthetics, rhythms, etc. On some level I’m drawn to it because I like finding my own ideas, words, thoughts, whatever, in the words of other people.

For this piece in particular (and the other pieces in my series on invisible pain) it’s also a way of surveying these deeply personal experiences that are shared - in isolation - by lots of people in a lot of different situations.

On what inspires her to make audio:

I'm inspired by strange, unexpected mixes, and variety. I like a good story but I don't always need one. To be more specific, I really appreciate shows like Vicki Bennett's Do or DIY (on WFUM) and archives like Ubuweb sound as a way of finding new audio.

On inspiration outside of audio: 

Music of course, music is important. If you want me to be really specific the most recent thing to really grab my attention is Fullmoon on Ryuichi Sakamoto’s recent album "async", maybe because I’ve been trying to embrace this idea of sounds allowing your attention to wander.

It isn’t really apparent in my work, but I’m really inspired by comedy. Especially when it uses editing and repetition to make a joke (I’m thinking specifically of Vic Berger when I say editing). 

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Constellations says:

We came across Adriene's work through an excited recommendation by the great Julie Shapiro. Adriene mixes scraps of archival audio with personal fragments to sculpt musical and striking compositions that continue to reverberate long after the sound has stopped playing. This piece is - coincidentally, sadly - rather topical this week. But beyond this, it's a creative and sensitive exploration of the invisible tides of pain that push and pull bodies and bodies of land.

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Adriene Lilly is a sound artist and audio producer whose work often plays archival and found audio against original interviews and recordings. She has lived in cities around the world from Chicago to Beijing but is currently based in Brooklyn, NY. Upcoming projects include an experimental audio series about expressing invisible, physical pain.

You can find more of her work online at www.adriene.net and bandcamp or follow her on Twitter @iamalilly