Rustles and Cheer…

Today’s morning bought lovely surprises when I switched on my PC and found Colleen’s beautiful Amaryllis, Kate’s gorgeous photo with waxing moon, Liz’s cheery, steaming coffee mugs and Caro’s amazing photos of her garden. Many of my friends are a drive, or a very long drive or sometimes a boat or an aeroplane trip away and it makes me feel closer to everyone to have their photos and words right here on my table. The love and the closeness is what I want to focus on right now; we need it more than ever when it is so cold and dark.

I also find this is a time of year when comedy comes in very useful for driving away the blues, so I must reveal that I have started collecting food packages with amusing names. This is a collection I shall share in its entirety after Christmas to alleviate the sense of anticlimax that attends that time of year. In the meantime, some of the online comedy I am enjoying includes the gallery of regrettable foods, LOLcats, (really, I know this isn’t for everyone but I love this site) and the tweets of Sam Whitelaw who at one and a half years old must be one of the youngest adopters of the twitter technology.

I also found the Meatsweats gig last Friday to be thoroughly cheering; it’s a world away from my own approach to sound-production being a hyper-masculine, noisy, feedback-ridden affair akin to a kind of sonic Fight Club. Unleashed from the confines of the office, members of the band embark on a rapturous, liberating voyage of self-expression via clashing electronica, outsider lyrics and set-destruction. I decided to give up on trying to decipher the sonic maze of B. A. Baracus samples, deliberately rubbish Casio keyboard beats, distorted shouty roaring and baffling costumery (pig masks and shades) and instead to just appreciate the loud mischief of it all. Is it a joke? Is it for real? Does it matter? Highlights for me included the point where the lyrics were improvised to include the particularly hideous knitwear of an unsuspecting audience member*, and the moment when Big Mouth Billy Bass was toted around like a crotch-decoration by members of the band.

In far quieter news we have today’s comparitively conservative sound from the SOUND BANK; the sound of rustling tinsel.

I believe this is the same rustling tinsel that I recorded at poundworld for the Sonic Advent Calendar on sound-diaries, last year. I struggled with notating or indicating the sounds at the time, since they are very detailed and particular. I think all those letters in round circles are like vocalisations which are meant to sound like the rustling sound of tinsel.

I was frustrated at the time that most of the words appear to be visual descriptors or indicators of movement. Throughout SOUND BANK I have struggled with the deficient vocabulary that exists for describing sounds, and have normally resorted to writing about surface qualities instead, in the hope that these go some way to explaining how things sound. Shimmying and shaking are both to my mind movement words, and shimmering, glistening and glinting are all visual descriptions. Rustling is the only explicitly sonic word used on this entry to the SOUND BANK; hence all the little vocal instructions for short noises like sl, rs, sn, ms, s that I have added to my drawing.

I know a few talented wordy people – Aliki and Liz, I’m looking at you – and there are some composers out there who are good with the detailed sound descriptions, so I’m all ears for assistance with tinsel-sound words!

And now I must record a sound in a different way, for sound-diaries.

*I believe the exact words were ‘come here bad knitwear boy.’

3 Responses to Rustles and Cheer…

  1. Ruth says:

    Hey Felix! Love the baby tweets. Have you tried looking at IPA (International phonetic alphabet) for describing sounds? There is a symbol for every sound made in a human language. Here is a link: http://web.uvic.ca/ling/resources/ipa/charts/IPAlab/IPAlab.htm you can click on the symbols to hear the sounds x

  2. Knit Nurse says:

    What, you were in Deptford for the gig?!

  3. jane says:

    This is so much fun, Felix! I’m really enjoying it… and what a challenge to describe a sound without using a visual word. How interesting too that it is so tricky. It makes you realise how interlinked our senses really are, both in life and in our brains. I suspect someone with impaired sight might be able to impart a lot of wisdom on this front, though…?
    I think the regrettable foods site is *hilarious*, by the way, thanks for the link!

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