Unpluggin the iPod

Hi, my name is Chris and I'm an iPod addict. 

I loved my iPod. When I lived in New York I had headphones plugged into my ears from the moment I left my apartment to the moment I returned. I had a laundry list of my favorite podcasts that I listened to, I was constantly listening to music, to Marc Maron's complaints about his cats, and to whatever NPR decided to produce this week. Then my iPod headphone jack came loose and my iPod stopped working. This coincided with my last few days in NYC. Preparing to move left me little time and money to go get it fixed. So I stopped wearing my headphones. The change was incredible. 

I started to hear the sounds of the city in a different way. I came to appreciate the ebb and flow of the traffic sounds, the bits of conversation you overhear while walking down the street, and the ambience of the world around me. This led me to pursue the project, I was walking home, which explores the ambience of real world sounds and uses them as source material for a large scale electronic work. 

In addition to appreciating the natural beauty of these real life sounds, this listening has caused me to rethink my approach to musical structure. I'm fascinated with the way these real world sounds (whether urban or rural) create an organic tapestry. These sonic gestures (wittingly or not) interact with or ignore one another. A cricket becomes drone-like and contextualizes the birdsong in beautiful and interesting ways. In addition to the sound installation, I've been working on an all acoustic work for brass quintet that mimics the gestural and structural qualities of these real-world sounds. I'm trying to create a music where performers come together to interact with one another but also act as individuals, ignoring those around them. Is it possible to create a satisfying musical structure that emulates a field recording, while still maintaining a musical sensibility? 

Chris CresswellComment