SOUND: composition, installations, performance, releases

Apophenic Ecosystem C10 C30


Uncanny Sound, TACTIC, Old Government Buildings, Sullivan's Quay, Cork. 15-24 September 2011.


"The Uncanny is a Freudian concept of an instance where something can be familiar, yet foreign at the same time, resulting in a feeling of it being uncomfortably strange or uncomfortably familiar."

Liam Slevin curated an exhibition of sound and video works based on this theme, opening at TACTIC in Cork on 14 September 2011. The artists included Dominic Thorpe, Stephen McGlynn, Erin Gee, Jessica Conway, Dave Fyans, Sarah Lundy, Richard Forrest, and Dan Guiney.

My own sound installation was descibed in the following statement.

I grew up with cassette tape, an accessible and personal medium for storing sound. The act of recording a tape -- inscribing it with songs I chose, personal messages and even original music -- made it my own. But the ferric oxide overlaid its own distinctive signature. Hiss, wow and flutter, frequency filtering and pre-echo combined with peeling tape surfaces, misaligned and dirty heads, recording glitches. The innate properties of the medium made of my sounds a palimpsest that mapped some spectral domain. Listening back, I could sometimes hear strange music I had never recorded. Unexpected voices issued from a foreign land discovered in the space between tracks.

This sound installation consists of 83 tracks played back through two independent and unsynchronized stereo sources. Playback volumes are low enough that the background noise of the tape and the ambiance of the listening room fuse. The result is a meeting of the enfolded sonics of the tape and the open space of the acoustic environment, the past overlaid on the present. This is a machine for generating apophenia.

All original sound material has been sourced from my own cassette tapes, now three decades old.


Thanks to Liam Slevin for including my piece.