Sound Walk along the new and old Coastlines

Last week, we have learnt about sound walk. And I find that it is a way to know more about the soundscape that we have never come across and we may find new things. And it is just like the idea of drifting. Both of them are challenging.

Hong Kong Island is not a place that I go often. Wan Chai impresses me a lot as it is a reclaimed land and fulls of different cultures there. There may be changes of soundscape as the development of the coastlines. So, I decide to do a sound walk there and try to record how the soundscapes change as we walk nearer to the recent coastline of Hong Kong Island.

And the other study / research direction would be we will walk along the tram route, where the previous coastline located, to find out the difference of each district along the route.

Therefore, of course, this would become by final project of the course.


Going Home (or Not)

I don't know much about sound artists in the past as there isn't too much activities or concern group on soundscape (but when I was doing my Intermedia Project, there is suddenly a growing number of festivals and events on soundscape).

Once Cedric introduces me about Anson Mak as I have such a great interest in soundscape recording and I immediately be interested in what she is doing. Anson previously was a film maker, musician and of course artist. She was a AMK members playing experimental and rock music. Cedric told me that she is now doing something similar but not quite similar as mine at Kwun Tong. What Cedric mentioned is about the soundscape and culture research of Kwun Tong.

An album called Going Home (or Not) was released and is full of sound of Kwun Tong. She does this and a website is to show the uniqueness of Kwun Tong and a need to preserve. I buy this album and listen it in an in-depth approach.

After listening, I find that she has chosen some representative events and spots to record. And the whole picture is showing that Kwun Tong is a society full of warmth and special. This would let me ask a question: why Kwun Tong should be redeveloped by demolishing everything?

One track impressed me a lot. It is Chiu Chow Music Remix. Chiu Chow traditional music makes us feel old-fashioned. After a crazy mix of what Anson has recorded, it becomes more trendy and modern. Chiu Chow music can be hip and pop!




In my second entry, I mentioned that I started my interest in one of my project as it was a success that people accept my work. As Hong Kong is a place that have various and unique features of each district, so I decided to make a soundscape work in my Associate Degree FYP (i.e. Intermedia Project).

At that moment, I just thought that there seems no one uses the medium of audio to record the soundscape of Hong Kong. And I think each district must have difference. Thus, I do the project of Listen.HK to preserve our Hong Kong's unique sounds.

At that time, Charles is my supervisor. He asked me that what is special? What are the methods to distinct each district from each other? So, I pick some public transport announcements, some tourist and crowd spots to record. I mix them together in a geographical way as a music piece to be released on the internet.

But after I attend the lesson on soundscape which is the one I expect most recently, I find that it is not at all a soundscape work. I just treat them as sound object and put them together. It seems that too macro and they are finally mixed to mono. The feeling of a soundscape is not so strong. It is more like a collage of several soundmarks.

As I have said in the making of, I would like it to be continued. I hope in the following stage, I could find more specific topics to include in the recordings. And also, I will look in a much more detailed way of the soundscape. In addition, it is important to make them and the future recordings back to stereo.

I hope this work can be enhanced and more meaningful to Hong Kong.



Electric Requiem: God Save the Queen

As Hong Kong has been handover for over 10 years, something remarkable and memorable are now gradually demolished. Samson Young, the school new teacher as well as well-known emergent media and music artist and composer, produced a show to remember the days of colonial ruling by the U.K..

In this entry, I won't discuss about the multimedia theater but on the arrangement of the whole requiem. Samson is trained as a traditional music performer and composer. However, he always composes contemporary style of music and matches with some videos with symbolic meaning. This show has no exception.

In this show, he includes some sound extract from TV news in the requiem. Most of them are related to the government officials attitude towards protection of historical building and also the comments from public on it. This makes the requiem more like a complaint to the government policy and dissatisfaction which is more experimental and different from the traditional.

The show just presents the name of each movement but not the contents and lyrics. They are all printed on the programme booklet. However, as the light are dimmed in the black box theater, people who don't understand Cantonese might not know what's this show about. They are forced to listen the content by reduced listening. It is a kind of fun!

In the end of the show, there is an interview recording of Law Lan who is performing in the video. This makes us remember she acts as a queen which is a symbolic icon of colonial Hong Kong. Also, this shows the different personalities of Law Lan and remembers us that something are missing and thus we should preserve them.

I also use reduced listening to listen to the whole show as the videos and images are vague. After all, I still don't understand a lot about the message behind and the colonial Hong Kong immediately. But I can feel there is an urgency of saving the things missing. God Save The Queen, Please!


Sound Art in China and Speech Art

As a student studying sound art, it is important to do recording and notice the sound around, but also it is important to know about the artist in this 'NEW' field (for me).

It is a great chance to meet a famous Chinese Sound Artist Da-juin Yao in a public lecture. At first, I think he is a cool person that people are afraid of (maybe it is also a kind of respect! XD). However, it is not the case and he is a nice person and very patient to answer our questions and comments. So, that makes a lecture becomes more informal talk.

He explained and discussed about the trend and history of how Chinese people listen and record what they have heard. Also, we always just study the Chinese instruments on the history perspective. But how they are making sound? We seems has less discussion on this nowadays but the ancient Chinese did a lot.

Nowadays, how does Chinese sound art develop? Dajuin says Chinese sound art has a different directions from the Western. One is the sound installation. Another one is about speech art which I think it is also a very new area of creation. Chinese sound artists have now more interests and recording on human dialog, including content and emotions of someone speaking. There is no script reading out or it is not about narration but a 'low-tech.', no editing and direct recording of sound.

I cannot upload anything for reference in this entry for the copyright issue. Instead, I think this talk has given me some new directions and insightful analysis of the sound art creation in nowadays China for my sound art making.


Meaning of Noise

Noise is all around us and we usually ignore them, like the loud conversations on phone, children crying, playing and so on.

But somehow, some of the sounds have meaning and we usually still ignore them. During this period, it is the time of the SU and affiliated society elections. CityU and other universities have the traditions that all the proposed societies yelling out slogans to attract people's attention. And all of these sounds are interesting that what they are yelling is just like they will having a fight (if you don't know Cantonese, although they are fighting to win in the elections!) or a demonstration. The sounds make people feel annoying and some people hate it.

Although we have the above feelings, still their sounds are very interesting that there are full of emotions. To some extent, they are successfully attracted us but the noisy messages are not communicated well to the voters. Of course, they are producing Low-fi sound which is so messy and people cannot really catch up what they are yelling. After hearing the following recording, sounds become Hi-fi and the messages are more clear by hearing them in headphone.



Silence 2

There is a very well-known secret MTR platform in Sheung Wan which is not everyone know about it. Also, there is not everyone know about its history. So, once I know about this, I go there to find out if there is any special sound can be found in this area.

This platform formerly is for a station called Rumsey Station which is an interchange station for a rail line like the proposed Sha Tin-Central Line and the Island Line of MTR. However, there is some reasons like the suspension of building Western Island Line and the conflicts on the railway operations. So, the platform is being emptied.

Somebody says there seems to be some strange things happened and also as it is so quiet that makes people think there may be some mysterious things behind. So, I decided to do a sound walk while I went to visit a gallery. There is no strange sounds. But as it is not a busy platform. The sound that we might not noticed in our daily life are very clearly heard, like the sound of the escalators, people walking etc. And there is full of air-conditioning machine sound which makes me feel a little bit cold. The whole soundscape can also described as cold and Low-fi as well.



I am so impressed by John Cage's project on silence. His work 4'33" makes me thinking a lot, especially one question: is there really any absolute silence?

I should say NO! Otherwise, I should say the piece is recorded by a not working recorder. It is because the air sound and some unwanted sound will still in a work. So, absolute silence can just happened in a vacuum. Silence can just consider as something that is trying to stop and not to make sound.

I have done a similar performance at Tsim Sha Tsui. And I think silence can be a way to be concentrated ourselves to hear what's happening around and can be a source of our work. Let's take a look / listen (i.e. appreciate by closing your eyes after you have clicked play) in order to to feel how noisy the weekend TST is.


My intention studying Sound Art

I would like to share with you why I would like to choose to take Sound Art course. I studied music when I was a primary school student and also during my secondary and tertiary studies. However, I cannot find a way to be creative in the field of traditional music. And now, I still love music.

I took a course last year called the Cultures of Mediated Perception. I first knew about how people perceives sound. They are Pierre Schaeffer's Music Concrete - treating each sound as an object and Soundscape recording proposed by Murray Schafer. I found that it is interesting to record sound and notice about sound in these ways. In fact, I haven't thought of making music in these two ways.

So, I have done a final project by recording some sounds that are memorable for me, representing Hong Kong and treated as sound effects. Then, I edited them together into a piece of music - Symphony of Hong Kong. My friends think that it is like a diary more than a symphony as it is more like a personal experience. Then, fine, I accept this comment. And please enjoy my first sound/music work.


All About Noise

Welcome to my sound art blog! From now on, I will share with you something about sound and I will talk about the latest development of Listen.HK.

Typhoon Koppu strikes Hong Kong last week. In the sense of recording technology, if we use a wind shield for microphones, nearly no noise can be recorded and we just can record silence. However, I find that when strong wind strikes directly to doors, through the friction between door and air, noise will be developed.

According to the discussion last week about the noise as unwanted sound, loud sound and disturbance in communication, I have recorded the sound when Koppu strikes directly to the doors of the concourse located where I live. You may say they are noise as it really disturbs the security guard for the whole night. But there is still different rhythm and pitch found. I can tell this could also treat as a piece of sound.

If I record them in stereo, it will be more interesting!

Let's enjoy!

WARNING: As the sounds are really loud when recording, it is recommended to turn down the volume while listening. Also, please don't listen continuously. Otherwise, they will harm your ears!

All of them are recorded on 14/9/2009