For our second sound, we’re off to Dubai (a new addition for Cities and Memory), where long-standing contributor Eric Powell took a water taxi ride. We dealt him the Oblique Strategy cards Once the search has begun, something will be found, and Magnify the most difficult details. Here he explains how he developed the memory version from the field recording.
“Applying the statements from these two cards into to a remixing/compositional project was a very interesting process. My oblique strategies were: “Once the search has begun, something will be found,” and “Magnify the most difficult details.” On a very banal level the first card helped guide me through the selection of material, and in deciding what my compositional approach would be. Not surprisingly, once I began to work on the project, all the pieces fell into place quite quickly.”
“Throughout the piece I used a series of convolution (playing one sound through another) and auto-convolution (playing a sound through itself) techniques to blend the sound of the water taxi with that of a muezzin’s call to prayer (a ubiquitous sound across the UAE). One of the amazing things about these processes are the ways in which one sound is able to completely transform another, highlighting similar frequencies (by multiplying them together) and creating ambient or drone-like sounds that evolve over time.”
“In considering my second card’s instruction to magnify small details, I began working with smaller and smaller excepts of the original field recording, trying to use the multiplication factor within the convolution process to highlight these moments of confluence between the source track and the convolved versions – exploring these difficult, shimmering differences that appear on a minute scale.”