June 2017 i

The June heat means sound is travelling faster than it has all year (warm air increases speed of sound) which unfortunately allows for all the late night drunken Dublin sing song to reach my apartment window even quicker. Not that I'm a curmudgeon!

Anne Maree Barry's new work Otium Cum Dignitate (Leisure with Dignity) which I sound designed is currently on show in The Lab on Foley Street until August 20th. It's a fascinating exploration of gender and class division through the lens of early 20th century Dublin, specifically the notorious Monto area above Talbot Street.

Currently in the works is a radio adaptation of Orla Murphy's award winning theatre drama Remember to Breath

Set during a young Irish woman's attempts to learn to swim in a post-earthquake Christchurch, New Zealand, it explores themes of loss, disconnection, and identity as she strives to reconcile her old home life with her new home land. Sound design and mixing are almost complete and it will be broadcasting on Newstalk FM in the near future.

The Dead

A sound installation, Voices of Memory, by the esteemed composer Christina Kubisch is currently at the Irish National War Memorial Gardens. Sound installations being relatively rare in Dublin, I hopped on a bike and made my way for a listen on a drizzly afternoon.

Walking the bare path along the riverside, you see a lone caber on the bank, and begin to hear the rote murmur of names being read aloud. The sound of water fills the background as it rushes through the sluice on the Liffey north bank. Water fowl croak intermittently.  

"Richard James, Richard James, Richard James...."

For a moment I'm disheartened and think the installation is malfunctioning and is stuck on the one name. But, as it chants the next name after several repetitions of Richard James, I realise that that many men with the same name were killed on the battlefield. The installation sign informs that 49'000 Irishmen were killed in World War One. Another loop of a name repeats. Each recitation has been recorded individually though, by an individual, for an individual.

The names are read alphabetically, with the sound of hydrophonic river recordings dividing the letters. Being situated beside the river, flow and time become important themes to the piece. The names flow by, sometimes slow and monotonous, but sometimes eddying and running into one another creating a wash of sound. These names have been fished out from time, to live momentarily in the ears of listeners as they pass by, sometimes with the river and sometimes against it. I left feeling that a rainy day was perhaps the best weather to find this piece in.

As I turned to leave, I noticed the heron standing on the far bank.

Voices of Memory is running until 30th September, 2016 at the Irish National War Memorial Gardens.

Birdsong in Stephen's Green

'By trying to sing over the sound of the city, birds are risking vocal injury because they're using more pressure to sing loudly, while also singing at higher frequencies to try to counteract the low rumble of traffic noise,'

Urban Life Is Stressing Out Our Songbirds

Birdsong has been so instrumental in music - from Benjamin Britten to John Luther Adams - how long before the effects of noise on bird behaviour are felt culturally?

The Echoes of Benjamin Britten's 'Composing Walks'