‘GUNPOWDER & TREASON’

This is one of my early explorations in Sound Art from 2013. My idea was to create of piece of art using ‘found sound’ recorded during the day in a field where that evening a firework display was taking place and then add more samples during the actual display.  Daft as it might sound, what I wanted to achieve was to try to grab the stresses Guy Fawkes would have felt trying to blow up the Houses of Parliament and then getting burned at the stake and the contradictory pleasures we take from his failure today.  The daytime sounds layered into the piece catching Guy Fawkes’s feelings back on that day in 1605.   The night-time sounds are to capture excitement in the now.

Inspiration for the piece comes from Pierre Schaeffer’s 1948 ‘Etude aux Chemins de Fer’ study of railroad sounds and Musique Concrete generally.   Schaeffer’s coined the phrase “reduced listening” which means, ‘listening to a sound for its own sake, in itself, as a sound object’. I like that.

Anyway, I used the Musique Concrete compositional process when making this piece;

  • The recording of concrete acoustic sound (found sound).
  • The studying of selected fragments (sound objects) considering both the overall structure and the inner detail.
  • The realisation of the final piece through the structuring of modified sound objects.

The possibilities of what you can do with found sound are infinite.  I hope Schaeffer would have appreciated my piece for what it is although I think it more likely that he would be more interested in the technology I had at my disposal and what he could have done with it.

If you fancy a visit, the Zoolon Audio website it is at www.zoolonaudio.com

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YouTube: www.youtube.com/channel/UCtOtegaQCJKBCZWYJDHOTPg

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27 thoughts on “‘GUNPOWDER & TREASON’

  1. George, this is a remarkable and an emotional capture of sound, excellent. While listening to this track my mind went to some intense places. Do you think that Fawkes intentionally jumped, becaue of desperation? I can’t even imagine being able to stand, let alone climb a ladder knowing what’s coming next. Strong post, powerful presentation. ~ Feather & Rexie

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Feather. I think they made Guy Fawkes go last, after his mates had been dealt with – just to make the whole thing more horrible for him than it would have been, although I’m not sure horrible is a thing that can be measured.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Your found pieces are always really fascinating. I actually learned quite recently while in the UK that Guy Fawkes wasn’t even the real ringleader of the gunpowder plot. He was more like a scapegoat, poor guy.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This is bloody cool, George. I see hear scraps of sound and see scraps of color: red streaked across a cheek, blue upon an eye. Orange upon a hand, moving, blasts of color showing blasts of motion, nothing continuous, like photos taken in a panic.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad you liked it. I remember it was a lot of fun to think up the circumstance of this project back when I made it. It’s interesting you got colours from it. Especially as I’m colour blind. I like it that you did.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks. Don’t worry about the colour blind thing though. It truly has never been a problem for me. That on the artwork for the songs on the new album I designed a sun and sky in what I’m told were shades of green doesn’t really matter to me – that’s just how I see it.

        Liked by 1 person

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