Thanks to our very own Rose Rodent, the arrival of a carefully addressed box of native British songbirds at the Institute of Artistic Endeavour this week caused great consternation in the janitors’ mail room, and has also prompted a revival of my peculiar interest in music for cookiebiters. See what you’ve gone and done, Rose.
For cookiebite easy listening, I didn’t think anyone could top Lou Reed and Laurie Anderson’s ill fated 2010 Music for Dogs which I’m very fond of mentioning on here, but Dawn Chorus by Marcus Coates is my new fave rave. It’s an epic piece of sound art which could almost have been made specially for the pre-presbycutic cookiebiter or reverse sloper. It dates from 2007, when I first began remarking to the spouse that there didn’t seem to be as many birds around first thing in the morning as there used to be, and when the dystopian world of NHS audiology was still a far off place.
The birdsong you hear in the videos, if you are lucky enough to still be in possession of either natural or technologically enhanced high frequency hearing, is actually generated by the human voice. The participants mimicked slowed down recordings of birdsong, and the footage was speeded up to match the speed of the original recordings of the birds. The resulting human vocals and body movements are eerily birdlike.
The clip embedded here presents all the recordings in a linear fashion and, interestingly, when I listened to it on a loud volume with hearing aids on, it produced the nastiest set of hearing aid distortion artefacts I have yet encountered, so I hope nobody’s hearing instruments explode when listening to it…
You can view an explanation and a better quality version of the clip here. Clip 2 on that page also lets you experience the pieces as they were presented in the original installation. Clever stuff.