One of the most fascinating sounds from our Oblique Strategies project was Christian Hagelskjaer‘s response to La Cosa Preziosa‘s field recording from St. Patrick’s Park, Dublin, which involved removing the recording and reconstructing it verbally.
I’ll let Christian explain how he used the instructions Discover your formulas and abandon them and Put in earplugs to come up with this most fascinating reinterpretation:
“Why, thank you, Brian Eno and Peter Schmidt.”
“Thankfully, I already know what my formulas are: Mangle things with effects-plugins until something emerges. Then do it again. So I wouldn’t do that.”
“Being a student of design processes and a fan of Donald Schon’s ideas of “the reflective practitioner”, I decided to give myself something to reflect upon, iterate and evolve with. I came up with a couple of elaborate ideas (even committed one of them to a written script), knowing I wouldn’t go with either of them. The plan was simply to get them out of my system; to accept them as first thoughts – and then abandon them.”
“This is where I decided to put in the earplugs, in a manner of speaking. Following this instruction, it made sense to take the original recording almost completely out of the mix. After all; I wasn’t there, I didn’t hear those sounds with my own ears. Before portable recording equipment, neither would anyone else, had they not been there themselves.”
“So I recorded a single track, listening to the original, commenting on what I heard. After that, I didn’t listen to the original again, but built everything on top of the commentary (and looking at the waveform of the original. Earplugs – not blindfold).”
“I tried voice-acting some of the atmosphere, added more comments (some of which were inspired by reviews of St Patrick’s Park found online) and thought a lot of early Frank Zappa montages while doing it. The frequency response was constrained as a result of using only an old Tandberg dynamic mic and some dis-enhancing eq. I considered mixing the whole thing to mono, but decided it would make things too dense after all. All in all, a sort of oral reproduction/recollection of the original sound.”