gaité lyrique

jul 31, 2003.

The final event of this year's 95 day international headphone festival Placard was a 72 hours non-stop double-room event in La Gaité Lyrique, a former theatre building (dating back to the late 17fifties) that in the mid-19eighties became an indoor amusement park, but closed down soon after opening. The place was empty and abandoned for close to fifteen years. The building is destined to eventually house the to-be Parisian centre for digital arts, but pending another major architectorial transformation, it meanwhile is used for 'digital' festivities. At least a small part of it is, as all the old amusement park attractions actually are still there, though mostly in very bad shape. It feels pretty eerie to walk around there (we had a tour on sunday).

[plus tard] ... insérez citations du tour ...

Did a 'live chronicle' on sunday, around lunchtime, about forty minutes long. I started with some early eighty cassette recordings (recordplayer's needle scractching on and on in a vinyl record's end groove - well, guess most of you will know how that sounds :) - endlessly turning, some fooling around on the untuned piano in my old room at my mother's), then moved along large chunkssss of recordings made during a family day trip last august to the Dutch outdoor amusement park De Efteling as a sonic canvas, say, on which I played twice the full 1994 French Reader's Digest promo cassette (parts of which you might know from the Sound Chronicles track GrandTirage), once at normal speed, once on 'fast playback', which against the gradually developing 'amusement park sounds' stream provided for a surprising shift in perspective.

On top I improvised fill-in sounds and patterns using the AM radio function of an old and partly broken Sony WM-F46 stereo radio/walkman as well as the cassette function of that same machine, playing (using the three different possible speeds of playback) a recording of the last fifteen minutes of Wagner's 'Rheingold' (Boulez). I also used kind of an electronic beepy thing, which upon touch produces - sequentially - some seven distinct electro signals, and that I broke out of a MacDonald's Happy Meal toy.

The amusement park then gives way to the mono cassette recording of the crying of thousands of seagulls on their breeding-grounds at Ameland, made during may's stay on the island. Which is a fascinating recording in its own right, with a very peculiar texture, having a certain unearthy roughness ...
Finally the real life birds are replaced by the artificial fly of stereo01 and a couple of random 'etudes', played by a Commodore64(-emulator).

MacDo[rarhei]_mi ('ra' for 'radio', 'rhei' for 'Rheingold').

[ earlier related SB-entry: live chronicles :: next related SB-entry: xmas in kentucky ]

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