FORMER

by Andy Graydon

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1.
Former East 21:09
2.

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Originally released by contour editions in 2018. Visit www.contoureditions.com to view the original online release and other works.

Former began with a year’s collection of field recordings, spanning 2012 and 2013. These were recorded during passages of daily life, mostly in and around Berlin, many at the studio or at home. These quotidian moments include occasional experiences of music and performance, from street market buskers to sound art exhibitions to my son exploring the studio’s detuned piano. I approached these recordings as intervals of experience, as sounds that revealed their value through unhewn textures and frank expressions. The work of composing Former was largely an attempt to bring these experiences-in-sound into conversation without reducing them to a single surface or unified tone; to hear a conversation in process, between elements in the world, of which I was one.

In order to capture and then expand upon this idea of sound as experience and process, I developed a new compositional technique for the production of Former: I played back the finished tracks of the pieces in my studio, through monitor loudspeakers and simultaneously through noise-cancelling headphones. Under these headphones I wore binaural microphones in my ears, through which I could record a combination of the headphone sound (switching between noise-cancelling mode and not), the loudspeaker sound, and the incidental sounds of the studio, the street, and my own activities. As I listened in the studio I moved around and tried to respond to the work unfolding around me, attempting a kind of live duo improvisation with the recorded work. Many of the shifts in tone, proximity, reverberation, even feedback are acoustic effects of this re-performance and re-recording process.

Editing and mixing were begun in Krems, Austria, during an artist residency and finished in Berlin. Former includes recorded elements of work by Takeshi Nishimoto and Yukitomo Hamasaki, Pierre Gerard, David Papapostolou, Luigi Nono, Nuri Bilge Ceylan, Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle, the Wandelweiser Group, Graham Graydon, my students in the NYU Berlin sound art studio class, and the PALAOA Acoustic Observatory in the Antarctic Ocean. These were recorded in situ during live events or from environments in which the sound was an ongoing element.

Former East refers to my neighborhood in Berlin, Prenzlauer Berg, which had been part of East Berlin during the city’s division. Former-and-Longeron refers to the technique of ship and aircraft fuselage construction in which bands called formers encircle the empty volume of the craft, giving it its shape. Both senses resonated with my experiences of the previous year, and with how those experiences materialized in sound.

Some rights reserved. Released under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license CC BY-SA

Andy Graydon
Cambridge, Massachusetts, April 2018

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released June 5, 2020

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Andy Graydon Hawaii

Andy Graydon is an artist whose work explores the interstitial spaces between sound and video. His recordings and layered performances, which integrate diverse field recordings with electro-acoustic compositions, unhinge known sonic territories and open up environments that allow listeners to experience natural (or found) sound in new ways. - Lauren Cornell, "Extract: Portraits of Sound Artists" ... more

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