Go Outside

Robert Curgenven
Go Outside
Kaon | mCD Ju12 | July 2012 |
La Riviere – Series 3
3" CD

Digital edition available via Bandcamp

172 recordings of the Taurion River cut into over 400 iterations of white noise | a computer malfunction | a distortion pedal | two intrusions of guitar & dubplate feedback

After delaying work on this project for way too long, I found it ironic to be living by an estuary in Cornwall when I finally edited the piece. Whilst literally overlooking the Fowey River I edited hundreds of fragments cut from Cedric Peyronnet’s extensive recordings of the Taurion River in France. In transposing these recordings to a new piece, I decided to impossibly look at the river in its entirety, rather than focus on any specific section or group of recordings (although I have only ever seen a short section of the river personally). To bring the river itself to the fore I set about removing bird calls, animal, human and (incidental) machine sounds from the recording archives, which in many ways reduces the remainder of the recordings to iterations of white noise and their spatial articulation of the areas recorded. This led to a somewhat brutal and dislocating aesthetic. During breaks in the editing process I was also struck by how much more enjoyable it was to sit in our garden outside by our river, the interplay of the sound of the local birds and ever-present gulls, boats on the river, the cool air. All this made it obvious how ridiculous it was to sit inside and labour over a computer to produce a piece about a river from these 4+GB of recordings from a river. How could I really make sense of the nearly 5 hours of recordings of the Taurion River? What kind of connection is there that could be established in a 20minute piece without succumbing to the ontological overload of billions of droplets of water colliding and condensing to create a river which at times is a coursing torrent, then at times a trickle? And how to neutralise the anthropomorphic tendency of listeners to project feelings and personalities on to the sounds of water, like “angry waterfalls” and “playful burbling”, when the truth of these encounters is really only apparent by visiting part of the totality of the river’s length and experiencing its movement in person rather than through easy remove of a hi-fi simulation. “Go Outside” attempts all these impossible tasks, may well fail in that attempt, but perhaps phrases its iteration in the form of a polemical imperative to follow its directive...