Five-channel soundtrack for Hiraki Sawa’s installation, O. In collaboration with Organ Octet

Soundtrack for O by Hiraki Sawa | 2009 | Works |

The Narrator’s Prologue (for Révérien)

For grace, at its most absurd. The passing, the ephemeral, the reckoning with what is inside, what you can see, what you would not accept, what you cannot deny. I am forgetful. I am an emergency vehicle. I am, and my hand makes the sign of your interrupted shoulder. Red powder falls as my fingers trace the contours of ten thousand scars, Honour’s face etched with the living memory of the very death of humanity, with every inch of our absolute coming short. For we do come short, at every turn. We walk on glass until it pierces boot and sock and calloused foot, red and bulbous, ripped to bitter shreds.

I am forgetful.

And so, to ever not.

This is a song of shaking. The murmurs of my shaking heart, the thudding that your presence prompts, the beats it always skips. (Don’t touch, she whispered, holding open the book at that page, the page of his cross-bound dying, the page my mother had always sought to hide from her young, unknowing eyes, the page she found by herself and couldn’t look away from. Don’t touch him, she told her mother, he’s hurt. )

A marching song, an anthem of sorts.

To stare down any rebel. To cut away at death.

To ward off the heat. To pin down your vacant look.

To counter their boldest move.

To waive my only privilege.

To weave in blood-red wool.

To picture on a cool, spring morning, grass and gravel underfoot as cloud and blue tease the sun out from behind its keeper.

A wall of fear.

A blanket of anguish.

A bed of iron will.

A grim resolution. And not a care in the world, save for the burden of the whole world on your fragile shoulders.

Reaper, come, now reaper, do, please comfort me with poppies red, my hand held high in protest.

(They’re coming now, I see them clearly, two and three, through eyes tightly shut, fluttering lids in a steely dawn, sky and lark and peony on the side.)

One step, two step, four step, three / <3 divvy baby, can’t you see / brakes, bar and skidding / moon is on the rise / windows shatter cold you always count to three and promise that you’ll never walk on by and so it’s (repeat, to the beat of schoolgirl’s clapping, as often as it takes until the playground skipping stops. Two ropes are swung in opposite directions, but parallel and overlapping, so their rotations describe a shifting tunnel. A girl – skinny red jeans with white t-shirt with red belt with black ballet pumps with twisted golden hoops with two hair clips, one gold, one red, on her left temple, side-parting marked with a flattened curl above her right eye, back hair divided in two parts, pulled into a tight ball to the side just behind her right ear and held by two pairs of red plastic baubles on black elastic and teased out into a stiff fan to the left of the nape of her neck – she studies the swirling movement, letting it flow to her shoulders then her knees then her ankles then her feet. Then she jumps.)

He fell. An underground room, furnished with scraps and puzzles, forgotten in a basement. A chance encounter brings this invisible man and one thousand three hundred and sixty-nine light bulbs to a standstill. Connected, they flood the shadows with uncanny brightness and the man is rendered in unmistakable form on photographic paper as silver halides give way to silver, flat white to tones of grey.

Two rooms, one light, one dark, and the sound of a thousand glass baubles crashing into the concrete floor of an empty high-rise corridor.

If thrown at just the right angle, they hit the wall exactly where peeling green paint meets blackened brick, and explode in every direction. Ten thousand tiny shards of broken light and sharpness. Water furious on ice and frozen steel.

Cluster, waft, trickle, purr, every tiny step is made of singing.

And I do sing.

If I could shake that light-bulb room, it might just sound like heaven. It might just rain with an everlasting song, be it only for a moment, before the splintering and the fear. And I would have you by my side, but please don’t come too close. Please watch your step and shield your face, please wait until the music fades, these pieces are such wretched bells. Please hold my hand behind me that your eyes might stay intact. For you saw it all so clearly, and now your sleep is awake with seeing. You must talk of what you saw, and I must sing. My hands held out towards you, red with songs of trust, red for her white piping on red cotton dress.

It takes forever never to forget.

Jerusalem, November 2009

The Narrator’s Prologue (for Révérien) | 2009 | Works | Tags: |

Quodlibet for lightbulb and bollenhut (Shuk Ha’Carmel)

Opening performance for Blurrr 7, Biennial of Performance Art, CCA, Tel Aviv, November 2009

As part of this performance, I recited The Narrator’s Prologue (for Révèrien)

Quodlibet for lightbulb and bollenhut (Shuk Ha’Carmel) | 2009 | Works | Tags: , , |

Study in Mixed Accents for Many Leaves and Other Marbles (Sanaé et Euphémie)

Solo exhibition and performance, Take Ninagawa, Tokyo, January-February 2009. Watch the performance here.

Study in Mixed Accents for Many Leaves and Other Marbles (Sanaé et Euphémie) | 2009 | Works | Tags: , , |

Soundtrack for Hiraki Sawa’s installation, Silts. Composed and recorded with Bunsho Nishikawa on guitar.

Listen: silts (live excerpt)

Soundtrack for Silts by Hiraki Sawa | 2009 | Works |

Osaka la Douce (The Sound of Footsteps in Gravel)

2005 – 2007

4-channel sound performance

Stereo recording of the performance presented as installation for headphones

Series of drawings

We sat on wooden steps leading up to wooden rooms, walked slowly through the ancient guarded gates and along the covered wooden walkways. We crossed a river on giant stepping stones, cast cement and stone, docile turtles unperturbed, water birds gathering, the ground rose to my right, I listened. I passed the canal, the sound of water running up to and against and along the concrete walls of the brigde, the steady clicking of bicycles to my right and then my left, my left, again, crocheted rhythms dissapearing.

A sound piece constructed from and in response to The November Recordings – a selection of field recordings collected in Osaka, Nara and Kyoto in November 2005. The drawings form an ongoing collection of images, seeking to expand and distill ideas and places present in the sounds.
Listen: Osaka la Douce (Shitennoji)

Osaka la Douce (The Sound of Footsteps in Gravel) | 2007 | Works | Tags: , , |

Phasmes

2003 – 2007

6-channel sound installation

13 drawings

The same set of 63 audio tracks of varying lengths is played on shuffle and on repeat on 3 iPod shuffles. This randomizes the sequence the tracks are played in, the latter having been composed using stereo panning as a means of creating a greater number of distinct sound sources. Indiviual sounds are placed to the right or the left, or in the middle of a pair of speakers. The pairs are seperated in the installation space and the same sounds travel from pair to pair as determined by the random sequencing. This allows for the possibility of repetition, echo, silence, whilst disrupting any definite sense of pattern.

The recorded sounds vary in tone, volume, texture, and clarity. Percussive noises, disticnt melodies of bells, windchimes, and music boxes, dampened tingling, muted rustling amidst clatter and hum, crunching, crisp, close, doors closing, keys shaken, doors shut. These sounds conjure up differing spaces and distance – impressions of closeness, of something heard from within or from afar, from above and beside and underneath. The drawings form an ongoing collection of images – responses to, and echoes of, the sounds and the spaces they create.

Listen: phasmes

Phasmes | 2007 | Works | Tags: , |

Released on flau in 2007

Listen:

Flock

Walking A Circle

The Horse and Camel Stories | 2007 | Works |

Their Song (Decora)

Performance, Jerwood Space, London, August 2007

Listen: their song (decora)

Their Song (Decora) | 2007 | Works | Tags: , |

The Moth Sessions

Solo exhibition,TAKEFLOOR 404&502, Tokyo, November 2006

stereo sound installation

wall drawing

2 drawings

1 book of drawings

This work is a reflection on pattern, movement, mapping, and the sounds of these things. The sound and drawings were composed simultaneously – each seeking to expand and distill the other.

Listen: the moth sessions excerpt

The sound is a composition of 3 recordings: 4 people dancing barefoot on a linoleum floor in a large room; 1 person riding a bike over the loose cement slabs that make up the tow path of a canal; 2 clocks falling in and out of sync in an otherwise silent room at midnight.

The drawings bring together the patterns of markings on moths? wings; details of land mass contours, the comparative paths of rivers, the diagrammatic routes of various winds taken from Milner’s Descriptive Atlas, 1850, in particular the Map Showing the Distribution of the Winds and their Influence on Navigation; choreographic patterns and notations from historical French and North American dance manuals; diagrams showing the movements of the moon…

The starting point for this was a track I composed in February 2006 – dusk. The sounds in this track were fluttering, broken, husky, crepuscular, somehow faraway and yet as close and inescapable as the feeling of your pulse when you block your ears. They made me think of moths, the thick velvet textures of their wings and antennae, the rapid wing movements, the sounds they make as they fly into lightbulbs, their swarming silhouettes, black and frantic, against the blinding light of a lit bulb in a dark room – something both soft and anxious.

The Moth Sessions | 2006 | Works | Tags: , |

Soundtrack to Sawatohwashi (Hiraki Sawa and Washio Tomoyuki)’s film, Unseen Park

Listen: Unseen Park

Photo: Hiraki Sawa. Courtesty of the artist, Ota Fine Arts, Tokyo and James Cohan Gallery, New York
Soundtrack for Unseen Park by Sawatohwashi (Hiraki Sawa and Washio Tomoyuki) | 2006 | Works | Tags: |

Chaika

2006

Five 10” 45rpm dubplates – ten tracks, one per side

Handmade cloth-bound box

Commissioned by the John Hansard Gallery for Slow Life, an exhibition curated by Yuu Takehisa, September 2006.

Listen:

Here now, my heart be still

Moondog

A vintage gramophone stands on a wooden cupboard in the upstairs bathroom of a house I know quite well. This bathroom is a strange cotton-wool room where any sounds of water running inside and things happening outside are dampened and absorbed by layers of towelling and thick velvet carpet underfoot and air laden with bath salts and heavy floral curtain and finer lace curtain and filtered patterned sunlight. The gramophone is usually silent, this room like a blanket quiet. But sometimes someone plays the records, or someone else hums to themselves in the shower.

This work explores the private soliloquy, in song which is more withheld than heard, in the idea of listening underwater and how such sounds feel as though they were coming from within one?s self. The bathroom as a place of retreat and escape, the accoustic qualities of a bathroom, of a gramophone in a bathroom, of singing in the shower, of things wet and dried.

The tracks are sound pieces composed using as raw material field recordings of aquatic sounds and bird – and other- song, as well as vaious early recordings on 78” vinyl records.

Chaika means seagull in Russian, and refers to 1950?s Soviet models of loudspeakers and radiogramophones. The white silhouette of a bird features in the centre of the fabric covering the speaker.

Chaika | 2006 | Works | Tags: |

Va et Vient (Soundtrack For an Empty Sunlit Corridor at the End of the Day)

2006

6-channel sound installation

2 drawings

Listen: osakako school play

A shifting, broken narrative originally conceived as a site-specific installation weaving between the walls and windows and doorways of the cloakroom, a corridoor space in a disused Victorian Grammar school, for the exhibition Eek (held at The old Grammar School, Redruth, UK, August – October 2006).

The cloakroom – the coming and going part of a school. It is where you find coat-pockets and school bags and lockers with things in them. Things found and kept (in hidden corners) that belong to, or come from, elsewhere. It is the most transitory of spaces, where you would only linger, but rarely remain.

The sounds used in the composition are a disparate selection of field and other recordings – around a school in Osaka, Japan; children playing in a garden in Somerset; someone rocking a rickety table on which is placed a miscellany of bells and toys and spinning tops in an empty echoing hall in London.

2 large drawings in fine black pen on paper map out the images used as triggers for the sounds collated in the audio composition. Intrinsic to both the sound piece and the drawings is an improvisatory mode of construction.

Va et Vient (Soundtrack For an Empty Sunlit Corridor at the End of the Day) | 2006 | Works | Tags: , |

Soundtrack for Flock, a film by Stephanie Caw

Listen: Flock

Photo: Stephanie Caw. Courtesty of the artist
Soundtrack for Flock by Stephanie Caw | 2006 | Works | Tags: |

Released on Bo’Weavil Recordings in 2006

Listen:

Room

Keyhole

The Horse Stories | 2006 | Works | Comments (0)

Soundtrack to Hiraki Sawa’s film, Going Places Sitting Down. Available on vinyl and CD

Listen: Room

Photo: Hiraki Sawa. Commissioned by Hayward Gallery/Bloomberg Artist Commission. Courtesy of the Artist.

Soundtrack for Going Places Sitting Down by Hiraki Sawa | 2006 | Works | Tags: |

2006 – 2007

6-channel sound installation

Series of drawings

Listen: Shaking Paper Paper thin (metal feedback)

Shaking Paper Paper Thin | 2006 | Works | Tags: , |

The November Recordings

2005 – 2008

Field recordings from Nara, Osaka, and Kyoto done in November 2005

Listen: nara 1

There were doors to my right and doors to my left, but they were all far too small, too narrow, too frequently opened. With each gust of wind, they moved slightly to the left, or across to the right and a little higher. And just before the wind gently closed the one and then the other, the spaces beyond them were momentarily visible, between the hinges, beyond, beyond. Long narrow strips of patterned paper, and tree in flower, water running from stone to stone to pool and along, then disappearing as the door clicked shut. Since their exact positions within these darkened walls were never quite established, the spaces they concealed remained only partially known. Above each doorway, in small receding alcoves, were hung one bell and three on red strings of cotton and wool, tied to ornate wooden handles. The bells rang with the wind and the closing, the cadence and the volume of their chiming ever changing.

(We sat on wooden steps leading up to wooden rooms, walked slowly through the ancient guarded gates and along the covered wooden walkways. We crossed a river on giant stepping stones, cast cement and stone, docile turtles unperturbed, water birds gathering, the ground rose to my right, I listened. I passed the canal, the sound of water running up to, against and along the concrete walls of the bridge, the steady clicking of bicycles to my right and then my left, my left, again, crocheted rhythms disappearing.)

The November Recordings | 2005 | Works | Tags: , |

Soundtrack to Hiraki Sawa’s film, Trail. Available on CD

Listen: Walking a Circle

Photo: Hiraki Sawa. Courtesy of the artist, Ota Fine Arts, Tokyo and James Cohan Gallery, New York
Soundtrack for Trail by Hiraki Sawa | 2005 | Works | Tags: |

Soundtrack for Blue Floor, a film by Hiraki Sawa. 2005

Listen: Blue Floor (excerpt)

Photo: Hiraki Sawa
Soundtrack for Blue Floor by Hiraki Sawa | 2005 | Works | Tags: |

Tslilut

2003

6-channel sound performance

Listen: Tslilut (message)

“Even the shadows are agitated, with a random hectic pulsing along the edges” Paul Auster

A live sound performance using 3 CD players, and a collection of different tracks – most composed with distinct sounds on the left and right channels, thereby creating constant movement of sound between the 6 speakers.

Working with contrasts and tensions to create space within multi-layered accumulations of different sound bytes, samples and recorded improvisations, a sense of depth or surface or motion through changing spaces.

I have used rattling and rolling treble sounds, quite sharp and bright, close to your ears, almost at times inside your head. Then other deeper throbbing sounds, augmented bass, vibrations you feel with your entire body.

Stretches of layered and fragmented noise, meshing arrhythmic and radom percussive sounds with harmonic and melodic elements, analogue keyboard melodies, oscillator rhythms, mobile phone frequencies, digital interference, recordings of voicemail and birdsong, rolling toys and music boxes, digitial skipping, fast-forward, reverse, sounds compressed and woven together in a mess of stutter and shuffle, of broken phrases.

Tslilut | 2003 | Works | Tags: , |