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Utopia D4: bridges and monasteries

Utopia section D4
Utopia section D4

We’re deep into the map of Utopia now, and here we have one piece focusing on the idea of bridges in the country, and another a dreamy, mysterious trip through the country.

The Castle and the Monastery – Mark Taylor, Birmingham, UK

“I’ve gone for a mysterious atmosphere with this one.

Bells ring out as the sun rises. You hear the burbling river that is still not far from its source*.

Wind blows through the crow’s nest as waves swell around the ship. A gentle horn sounds from the castle battlements and is quickly joined by monks singing inside the monastery.

* Ignore the banner that says OSTIUM ANDYRI (The mouth of the river Anydrus) – it’s generally regarded as a joke.

In the middle section the soundscape changes dramatically as a second horn rises outside the castle; drums of war herald an approaching army and battle is joined.

The fighting fades away and we return to relative tranquillity; this time we also hear a lonely voice from the battlements – first speaking and then singing a short lament.

Production-wise, everything is in this one, including my kitchen sink!

  • Opening shimmering drone = Bells of St Anne’s Church, Moseley, Birmingham through 2 modules in Reaktor.
  • Burbling brook – outlet pipe from my kitchen sink.
  • Wind and waves – pure synthesis in Reaktor
  • Horn – it’s a weird old alpine style horn I bought years ago – finally used it in a project!
  • Amen – monks! :0)
  • Deep brass chords – pure synthesis in Absynth.
  • Horses – Earlswood Stables, Solihull.
  • Swords – kitchen cutlery
  • Elven language – gobbledegook!
  • Female singing – synthesis.”

Nunquam Bridge – Kamen Nedev, Madrid, Spain

“In Utopia, bridges are used in the expected way: to cross major rivers like the Anider, to travel from one part of the island to another, and to aid shipping and commerce.

Social interactions on a bridge take place on the go.

Thus these bridges become a metaphor for Utopia itself; they are, essentially, non-places, liminary structures that allow one to move from one state to another, but not to remain in; while crossing a bridge, one is in no place in particular.

While not impossible, it is rare to see a Utopian standing on a bridge; only children dare do that.

The actual field recordings were really taken in the city of Burgos, on a number of bridges on the rivers Arlanzón and Vena, using a combination of cardioid, binaural, and contact microphones.”