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When every clock in a room strikes midday at once

20140604_120601 (1)A field recordist’s dream from the British Museum – an entire room dedicated to clocks and watches from across the ages, fortuitously paid a visit at midday, just as all of the clocks are chiming twelve times.

There’s so much going on in the field recording here: ticking grandfather clocks, ancient bell chimes, a cuckoo clock and many more, and I think it gives a real sense of unique place mixed in with all the usual museum hubbub.

When listening back to it, however, it strongly reminded me of one of my favourite films, Jan Svankmajer’s nightmarish puppet-led interpretation of Alice in Wonderland, specifically the scene with the Mad Hatter winding all of his pocket watches and letting them tick (see below) – this led me down the path of trying to make something nightmarish, the kind of synths you’d expect from an ominous bit of a horror movie leading slowly into layered rhythms built from clock chimes, ticking clocks and creaking floorboards, before finally a couple of samples from Alice itself are woven in to complete the effect.

I frightened myself when I made this one in the dark on my own.

City version:

Memory version: 

Svankmajer’s Alice: