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a weekend at the noisies

On Friday I went to a celebration of recorded and electronic music at the Ashmolean's Livefriday. The new Ashmolean is a weird space, with lots of glass corridoors, half-levels and small, varied and weirdly interlinked spaces. Putting a mass of sound sculptures-DJs-interactive noisemakers-displays-lecutures-installations scattered through the galleries emphasised the whole postmodern Gormenghastian aspect of the evening (we ended up striding again and again through the floor-to-ceiling ceramics gallery, caught in a loop of finding the cool stuff) although the wine really should come with a warning that you can only drink it at Apollo's missing feet, in the wipe-clean area of the museum. The huge central stair area was being used as a performance space (famous Theraminist, Laptop Choir, improv with a miked-up harp, etc.) with musicians on various levels (literally, on different floors) playing through the evening and glass cases.

Lydia Kavina quails on spaghetti (multicoloured)

Elsewhere there was a DJ performing on his own in one of the old-fashioned art gallery spaces (Baroque Art 46, to be precise), Ray Lee twiddling knobs and manipulating electro-magnets/fields in The Ethometric Museum (a full-room playable sound installation which looked like it had been built from everything broken in the backroom of the museum of the history of science), an intimate burbling diorama of playroom detritis miked up to whispering recordings by Lisa Busby and several lectures/demonstrations of ancient recording techniques.

Ethometric musum entrance Decorative jugs display

There were wax cylinders for sale (including new releases) but although listening to Prodigy's Firestarter on wax cylinder was funny, the selection of racist music hall for his old song was weird. A man with a really ancient gramophone that briefly played us Caruso was talking about how original gramophones were sold in bicycle shops, because it was about the technology, not the music. But he also talked about how nobody had music in their houses before music players, which, is it true? I remember it being normal that we all just sang and played instruments before ubiquitous recorded music made music production the job of the hallowed talented few, although possibly that was just the 70s. I finally got my fix of the less-objectionable end of ancient music hall from Florrie Forde in Music and Tapestry 39 on a portable acoustic gramophone.

There were some interactive things to play with too -- this is the sound of people playing with mikes attached to sound triggers in Chinese Paintings 11, recorded while I was looking at a picture called Sounds in a Dark Landscape.


( 2 worms — Feed the birds )
25th Feb, 2013 19:24 (UTC)
I'm certain no-one made music and sang in my house in the 70s, but then my parents had a hifi and a record player. I think it's as much to do with the type of household you grow up in as anything else.
25th Feb, 2013 23:47 (UTC)
true, it might have been part of the whole good life smallholder thing, I guess
( 2 worms — Feed the birds )