Utopia D4: bridges and monasteries
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.”