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.

Cannes and IFTAs

Great news from Cannes that Yorgos LanthimosThe Killing of a Sacred Deer has been chosen for the Official Selection this year. Sound Design is being handled by Lanthimos' previous The Lobster collaborator, Johnnie Burn, who is also known for the superb soundscape of Under The Skin. I cut the foley for Sacred Deer and it is another fascinating film in the inimitable and logically lateral world of Lanthimos. Looking forward to hearing about the audience reaction.

Tomato Red Film Poster Sound Design

A great result at the IFTAs for Tomato Red which won in the Best Sound category. The film is wonderfully written and shot, and the soundscape designed by Steve Fanagan, Niall Brady and Ken Galvin is nuanced and immersive. It was a great to get do some work on such good sounding film, and it is worth seeking it and Juanita Wilson's other films to see some great filmmaking. 

Art Ambience


Another Toop inspired subject; I made a trip to the National Gallery of Ireland to try approaching the contents there in an aural inspired way. I decided to see only a handful of paintings, and give each at least the same amount of time as I would a piece of music, or sound, and also to try and listen to the painting. To hear the sounds and atmosphere presented, rather than just approaching the scene visually.

Chris Watson was commissioned by the British National Gallery to compose sound for a Constable painting. In the Radio 4 Nature show, he discusses his approach to 'hearing' the sounds in the painting. This blurring of borders between forms really does allow for greater appreciation of the artist's intent.

Sound. Memory.

Woods Noise

The recent issue of Field Notes magazine, published by the Gruenrekorder label had an unusual article composed of various onomatopoeic poems, written by numerous sound artists. The theme was memory, specifically memory based on sonic sensation. Despite smell being considered the sense connected most vividly with memory, I think there's a certain emotive nature to sound memories that can't be triggered by smell. My own most potent sound memory is of the trees that are outside the back of my family home. They are part of the outer radius of the Rossmore forest. Nothing to me was more primevally terrifying than the


of the trees on a windy night. The sound seemed to roll down the hill, seeking to wash you away into the anonymous dark. It was a threatening, aggressive sound, completely unlike the calming white noise wash of waves. Even now I still find it recalling those fears, but being a bit older, it provides more of a thrill, like nature releasing a brutal scream towards the listener.

It's a subject discussed several times by David Toop in Sinister Resonance as he tells of the fearful thoughts that are triggered by random nocturnal noises. He describes being 'woken on a Saturday night by sounds  that through the mist of sleep could have been a gang of cannibalistic human babies, crawling around our house, wet, cold, hungry and in search of an entry point'. Sound seems to press itself on the memory in a unique way, being able to emote so much more than other forms of memory. Perhaps in our mind's eye as we review the memory, just as with cinema,  the sonic sensations enhance the visual to a higher level?