Wednesday, May 23, 2007

vivid sound images...


"sounds around us" was a three disc 78 set that also had a picture book (my record set is missing the book) and was created by scott, forseman and company for educational purposes in 1951. it's a series of recordings using field recording type sounds (although clearly created by a foley artist) to "teach" children to develop their sense of hearing towards the creation of mind pictures (seemingly illustrative more than imaginary).

the extensive liner notes have some timely things to say about noise and listening:"many children today, especially those in crowded cities, are growing up in a world of noise, where the tendency is to shut the mind, if not the ears, to nearly all sounds - to class them as general noise and try to shut them out rather than to isolate and identify any one sound. in our modern world, full of big, distracting sounds, it is quite understandable that many children never really hear or learn to interpret interesting little sounds. "really hearing" a sound means isolating it - becoming conscious of it and listening to it attentively - and only those sounds that have really been heard may be called up as vivid sound images."

the interesting thing here is that without the picture book, many of these simple narratives in sound are impossible to figure out. i like that with this key element missing, the activity of listening moves beyond illustrating a narrative and more towards a kind of blind listening, evocative of a different kind of experience and one that is open to much more imaginative trajectories.

click here to listen

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