Résonances de la Fontaine
(Recording by Andrew Simpson)
Une version française de ce texte se trouve ici
On May 19, members of the Soundwalking Interactions research group participated in the Résonances de la Fontaine performance, which took place in Parc Lafontaine, as sound recordists (or, as “sound-recorder people,” as Malcolm Goldstein puts it in the score). As already noted on this site, Resonances de la Fontaine is an environmental sound piece by Malcolm Goldstein in collaboration with the Soundwalking Interactions research project. In the score, which is comprised of two pages of notes and instructions written by Goldstein, he writes: “the music performance is the realization of a listening experience in Parc Lafontaine, Montreal—the sounds of that environment transformed through the improvised play of instrumental musicians and sound-recorder people.” Adding: “the sounds of the environment are not to be imitated. Rather, ‘resonances’ of this source material/sounds are to be played with—textures, tonal and noise qualities, rhythmic articulations, dynamic shapes, etc.—performed and extended.”
After a brief production meeting (and lunch) on the day of the performance, the six performers spent time listening at six distinct sounding stations in the park. We were given ten sections to choose from, which are marked by circles on the above map of Parc Lafontaine. I spent time listening and recording at two stations near the water, in the pétanque area near the centre of the park, in the area around the baseball diamond, in addition to the two sections running along rue Sherbrooke, one of which is almost in the ‘south-east’ corner of the park. My aural palette for the performance consisted of traffic sounds, two airplanes, singing, vocalizations, moving water, pétanque sounds, various groups of people talking, various footsteps, a few baseball sounds and the sounds from the children’s play area near the baseball diamond.
The performance lasted nearly one hour, from 5-6 PM, on a very sunny, beautiful, hot and mostly still day. Goldstein emphasized ‘improvisation,’ remaining ‘open,’ listening to each other and allowing for ‘space’ while giving his instructions for the performance. There was no rehearsal. For Goldstein, improvisation means trying break from old habits, intention(s), familiar sounds, rhythms, techniques and gestures. While working with a conception of improvisation that negates intention is complicated for sound recordists, in that, picking up a microphone is an act of intent, the recordists attempted to gather sounds in a less focused way. In the coming weeks, the Soundwalking Interactions group will be thinking and writing about our experiences in Parc Lafontaine in relation to soundwalking, improvisation, creating meaning, performance, listening and the role/influence our technology played in the production process leading up to the performance, in the creation of our palettes and during the performance.
Please have a listen and let us know what what you think.