"le zida ne passera pas par moi ..."

july 30, 2006.

When I was younger still occasionally I was ; these days though it hardly will be willingly that I'd enter and become part of a crowd - be it as a participant in a demonstration, a political rally, as audience in a bigger than concert hall size music event, or by entering a stadium to witness a football match or other sporting event. On the other hand, I continue to have an unconditional fascination for the sounds that are brought forth by such crowds, crowds that at times suddenly transcend their many ones to become one many, and appear and act as if they were one single living, one single howling entity.

Like the diverse crowds composed of tens of thousands of soccer fans, of many different nationalities, attending this summer's world cup soccer matches in Germany. Shouting, chanting, waving ...

I can't remember whether originally it was in a dream, or whether it began one day when I was watching a match on television. But a couple of years ago I did start having this fantasy of 'zoom recording' a european, a world cup, or some other grand soccer finale ... It's #15 in a list of 'done and/or to do' projects that I put together sometime in 2004 ; there I named it: "Horen met de Oren van de Bal".

For my 'fantasy recording' starts with me imagining that instead of with a leather ball the referee presents the soccer stars with my head to kick around the field ... Or, somewhat less painful, I imagine myself being inside the match ball, and listening to the game and the crowds of fans as if through the match ball's ears ...

So here's our first techn(olog)ical challenge: somehow work a (transmitting miniature processor and) microphone into a leather football in such a way that it remains a perfectly 'normal' match ball, while enabling you to capture and store its trajectory and surrounding (moving, shifting) sounds. A hard one, I guess, if only for the ongoing kicking ? Such a built in microphone should be comfortable with many very different dynamics. And of course, given the large number of different balls being used in an average soccer match, one would need to have a whole lot of them ...


matchOn our screens we see players, referees and coaches move around as mostly silent actors. But in reality of course they are far from being 'silent'. They're a noisy lot indeed. And those that ever played football themselves, or at times have witnessed a match from the sidelines, will know about the fascinating 'verbal warfare' that accompanies many a match ; and they will be aware of the large spectrum of physical sounds and rhythms that - in close up - are a major part of a match's soundscape : the sounds of bodies running, jumping, gliding, colliding ... So that's where my fantasy continues : not only would I want to bug the ball, also each one of the twenty two players, each one of the referees, each of the team's coaches and other staff members will have to be miked, so that I may record their breathing, their heart's pounding, their crashes, clashes, their slapping on the field, bones cracking [body sounds] ... their shouting, screaming, their whispers, their sighs, encouragements, their insults [vocal sounds] ...

And then this is the way I would 're-mix' the match (to use a simple metaphor for simplicity's sake) ...: the crowd would become my choir, the players, referees and staff members my orchestra ... and the ball would be my soloist ... something like that ...

'Zoom recording' ( * ) ... (how does one sound record a soccer match ?) ... Matches as they are broadcast now, only bring you glimpses of this vast 'underlying secret score' ... the 'thumping' when the ball gets kicked ... the occasional shout, scream, wild laughter from inside the field when it happens to arise close enough to one of the microphones installed around the pitch (are they ?) ... I would like to be able to zoom in on all such sonic events as they occur within and along the field of play ... During the traditional 'playing of the hymns' just before the kick-off of an international match (interland), when the camera, like an officer inspecting the ranks, catches in close-up each player in succession ; many of the players sing along, sometimes the sound of some of their chant - pretty peculiar mostly, but then of course these are soccer-, not sing-stars :-) - comes fading in and out the massively echoing background singing of the crowds, along with the camera's ride ... Right there, for sure there I'd loved to zoom in ( ** ) ...

Though the reflections above may suggest otherwise, I'm really not much of a soccer fan. But I did follow (on television), a large number of the matches of this year's world cup tournament. Most of them actually I found pretty boring, and I would've gladly missed them. But I guess watching a soccer match is a bit like living a life: even when it didn't happen yet, it still could any moment now ; and as long as the game's not over, there's nothing lost - ("Waar leven is, is hoop") - ... So on many of this competition's evenings I started and continued watching until the referee's final whistle sounded ... fantasizing about being out there zoom recording ....

tijdrekkenThe dutch national team was sent home in the round of 16, in a lost match against portugal, which was moderate fun to watch ; not so much for the way the ball was kicked around, but rather for the way anything that moved got kicked - with 4 players dismissed and the game ending nine against nine ...

The french team though, against all odds, made it to the final, where they stood up against the italian team on sunday july 9th, in Berlin.

It was E. Rébus who suggested we'd treat that match in the form of a placard, re-mixing live the radio- and television reportage's, picking up the attempt at a live re-mix of an earlier match at La Machinante by Igor & Grichka, in the course of which Rébus had a go at a television set with some powerful magnets and therewith - much to the chagrin of La Machinante's Didier - managed to tweak the set's image permanently ...

A fine idea, I thought, and a fun way to spend the final's evening. So we set up the 'Match Vide' placard, last minute, as part of the ninth international headphone festival, small, intimate and lo-profile, at my Vincennes home - in the best of placard traditions ...

match_vide 1 match_vide 2
match_vide 3 match_vide 4

Thanks to the FIFA, to de Waag for use of their icecast streaming server, all performing participants - Fred Bias, Jean-Marc Montarou [le Rhinoseros], Thomas Sundholm, FlexRex, E. Rébus, HarS - and the fine handful of attentive listeners for making this into a memorable event ...

The stream was on from 18h30 till 23h00, and for large parts of the evening most 'sonic interventionists' were at it all together ... good chaos, my friends, chaos indeed ... but don't we just love that touch of chaos at times :-) ... ? You'll find a six-and-a-half minute, edited, impression of our 'Match Vide' as this edition's podcast s ... a collector's item, if ever I knew one ...

In the end, as you'll know, Zizou 'made history' ending his career by head butting an Italian in the game's one hundred and tenth minute (extra time). He got dismissed, and in the penalty shootout the French lost.

"Mais c'est n'importe quoi ..., n'importe quoi ..." one of our placard's listeners commented.


It remained very quiet outside. ( *** )




About the Placard international Headphone Festival on the SoundBlog:

(january 30, 2021) - assemble/dissemble (Antivirus 101 Placard)
(september 14, 2019) - A brief history of Le Placard (1998-...)
(august 11, 2019) - Vive Le Placard ! Varia ...
|→ (august 04, 2012) - 72 Hours of Post-Nuclear Survival
|→ (august 08, 2009) - (Le) CLeUb, Placard, CLeUb
(february 12, 2008) - Karlheinz's Song of Praise
(november 28, 2007) - Placardée l'Agence XP
(november 05, 2006) - Cellarlar Heroes
(october 20, 2006) - Funky Shit!
|→ (august 14, 2006) - placard : la générale
(july 30, 2006) - "le zida ne passera pas par moi..."
(july 07, 2006) - de_'tails of lite house keeping'
|→ (july 27, 2005) - tafelmuziek: placard & cd
(july 31, 2005) - tafelmuziek: paradiso placard
(june 18, 2005) - zandoog placard & cd
(december 31, 2004) - soundinjury placard
(may 31, 2004) - old bears new tricks
(may 13, 2004) - tafelmuziek placard
(july 13, 2003) - gaité lyrique
(june 20, 2003) - live chronicles

[ Added november 19th, 2010: ] "Le Zide Ne Passera Pas Par Moi" is one of the (11, of course) tracks on a netCD compilation of Football Sound Narratives curated by Rui Coasta and Duncan Whitley for the Portuguese Binaural Media - Binaural Nodar 001.


[ Added july 27th, 2017: ] More soccer sound on the SoundBlog: The Final Soundtrack ...:

notes __ ::
(*) Yeah, I know. More than just technical difficulties to overcome here ... Any such attempt to 'reveal' the 'hidden match' would most probably profoundly modify it, as surely many of those involved would act differently knowing that their utterances are being recorded ... To guarantee 'veracity', one would need to do the recording without them being aware of it, which I guess - leaving aside the question how that might be possible - would be a dubious intrusion on their privacy. Of course a mega soccer match, or any other mega sporting event, is theatre, is a public event ; but not so the 'hidden match'. Not at all. Or not all of it. I somehow doubt that major teams could ever be seduced into partaking in such a 'zoom recording' experiment. Probably its fairest chance would be modeling it as a 'sonic fiction' ... ? [ ^ ]

(**) Personally I'd hardly be interested in the 'literality' of linguistic utterances made by the 'actors' in the course of a game ... like what it was that Materazzi told Zidane before the latter kicked the former's chest with his head ... It's the - pretty much abstract and anonymous - dynamics that would interest me, and that I would look for ; not a transcript, a 'verbatim semantics' ... [ ^ ]

(***) Eight years ago it was different ... { SportNational, LeFootball } [ ^ ]

tags: placard, soccer, zoom recording

# .203.

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