Air Conditioner No. 8

Air Conditioner No. 8

My first commissioned soundscraper has opened tonight at Brussels-based Silence Radio. It is titled Air Conditioner No. 8. There's a blurb in French that accompanies the piece. However, I'd rather offer this email I wrote to Etienne Noiseau, the sonographer-in-chief at Silence Radio.org, to introduce the piece.

Tue, Mar 30, 2010 at 11:19 PM
Dear Etienne,

Thank you for your patience. I have re-worked the piece and uploaded it.

In this latest incarnation, I am trying to do something like what the music box does but as an operation on the air conditioning sound. I am trying to move away from the gimmick for its own sake and towards the effect that I desired in the first place. If the music box was about extracting signals from the air, my new piece is about subtracting signals from the air. Tone, therefore, is less important than the background noise.

I took your advice to play with the dynamics. I thought that was a much more convincing way to make connections between these air-conditioners. I think it is like walking across a soundscape, using stairs instead of ramps to move between the sonic chambers.

I realize there was a large disconnect between what I wrote in the text and the first piece that I sent to you. I'm hoping that this piece brings the written and the aural closer together. You were right that the layer of natural sound as something always mediated by a machine--air conditioner, jet sound, or otherwise--is worth calling attention to.

The piece has grown a bit in length. I felt this was necessary to give space for listening. I felt a lot of my segments in the first take were too short. There was a choppiness to how things came together, which gave too much attention to the transition.

The first thing I say "What is the sound of air?" should really be "It is unavoidable to hear the sound of air. What I desire is to listen to air.

Nick Sowers