New Field Mts Album – Kegonsa

Click the picture for a free download – This one is a quiet, short, conceptual album / photo collection, composed mainly of altered field recordings captured during a trip to Lake Kegonsa. It’s the result of thinking about soundtracks and memory as themes, which I’ll write about below, if you’re interested. The download from bandcamp contains a collection of numbered photos. Each photo corresponds to a respective track.

Lately, I’ve been thinking about soundtracks, and the sort of relationship that can exist between music, the visual landscape, and our emotions. It is interesting to consider how the quality of each of these three variables interrelate to sculpt our memory of being in a place. It’s fascinating in particular to think about the extent to which sounds play a role in shaping our experience. Consider even acoustic differences in the natural “soundtrack” – for example, the presence or absence of the sound of cars on a distant highway after being lost in the woods, or the calming sound of rain falling on the roof of your house – somehow these quiet background sounds, which are always there in some form or another, influence the way we interpret what we see and how we feel in those places; the sounds help shape the emotional lens through which specific details of an event become part of memory.

I listened to a segment on NPR a few weeks ago about a study which was trying to determine why women tend to avoid or leave jobs in science and engineering in greater numbers than men. Researchers attached sound recorders to men and women working in computer science and engineering fields which recorded 30 seconds of audio every 12 minutes. The goal was to study the conversations between men and women in the workplace and learn more about the patterns in their interactions. (Here’s a link to the article.) The guest mentioned the fact that people only tend to remember the most significant events of their day, while the rest is essentially discarded from memory.

This gave me the idea of constructing an album like a series of brief memories, a series of soundtracks to short film loops that fade in and out of focus. I think the film loop analogy is interesting; memories seem to playback at different speeds, are often cut-and-spliced according to some constructed narrative, and are sometimes even remembered as if in reverse. Also, memories, like film, tend to fade over time.

With some of these thoughts in mind, I took the field recordings from the cassette and altered them to create a soundtrack for the visit to the park that day. Each track is associated with a photograph taken along the walk, and attempts to convey a memory of being in that place. The result isn’t as cool as I’d hoped, but here it is anyway. Hope you enjoy it.

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