Jo Burzynska and Auricle manager, Malcolm Riddoch
Jo was interviewed about her work with wine and sound for a feature on Radio New Zealand’s Music 101 programme:
“This week, The Auricle Sonic Arts Gallery in Christchurch opened what it claims to be a world-first – a wine bar geared up to marrying quaffing with listening. Jo Burzynska, a leading wine writer and sound artist, curates a monthly wine list to match music, aiming to heighten the experience of both.
Gemma Syme went to the gallery to check out ‘No Mean City’, the new work by Bruce Russell, and ask curator Burzynska about matching wine and sound.”
Jo Burzynska (Stanier Black-Five) is one of the founding members of The Auricle, the world’s first dedicated wine and sound bar. Every month she curates its wine list to complement the current exhibition, with wines matched to the sonic works playing in the space.
“There are strong synergies between sound and taste, with recent scientific studies confirming that what you listen to when you taste something – such as a glass of wine – has a profound effect on the perception of what you’re tasting,” explains Jo, a wine writer, sound artist and Vice President of the Cantabrian Society of Sonic Artists (CSSA), the group that established The Auricle.
“At The Auricle’s bar, the wines are specifically selected to match the music in the venue in order to enhance the appreciation of both,” says Burzynska, who will be drawing on both her own studies and scientific research in the area when choosing the wines on its list. “While wine and music matching events are gaining popularity around the world, as far as we’re aware this is the first bar entirely devoted to this concept.”
The Auricle bar opened its doors on Thursday (7 August), which coincides with the opening of its August exhibition, No Mean City by prominent local artist and CSSA President, Bruce Russell. It will then be open during gallery hours and evenings Thursday to Saturday.
The Auricle is an artist-run venue established by the CSSA, a group of local practitioners working in the area of music and sound. A charitable non-profit organisation, all proceeds from the bar will be reinvested into the running of the space and its gallery.
Her work at The Auricle on the opening of the bar was covered in an interview piece on New Zealand’s National Radio Morning Report programme.
Over three years ago the bells of Christchurch Cathedral ceased tolling when the iconic building was destroyed in the major earthquake that shook the New Zealand city in February 2011. In Resonifying the City, Stanier Black-Five brought this integral part of the city’s soundscape back for the weekend of the Audacious – Festival of Sonic Arts, which joined her ongoing installation in Colombo Street that reflects the sounds of a once noisy thoroughfare back into the street.
The earthquake transformed the city soundscape dramatically, for a while muting the noise of daily life and removing some familiar sounds altogether. Resonifyng the City returns sounds to their old locations through a series of installations created from archival material and personal recordings.
Many people in Christchurch miss the sound of the cathedral bells. These returned to haunt the ruins of the building, evoking a nostalgia for what has been lost. The juxtaposition of this sound from the past chiming in what is now a very different city also aimed to provoke reflection on the change that has occurred since the bells were last heard and pose questions about the past and its relevance to the present.
The sounds for the installations were recorded around Christchurch by Stanier Black-Five, except the historic Christchurch Cathedral bells recording, made and kindly donated by Mike Clayton.
Avast! was created from field recordings made between 2009 and 2012 in Lyttelton, a volcanic harbour on the South Island of New Zealand. Sounds were captured at sites around the natural amphitheatre of this extinct caldera: from abandoned wartime bunkers on the top of the crater rim to the port and its cacophony of cargo ships, tugs and workshops. The work is also haunted by the resonance of buildings such as the Timeball Station, which were destroyed when the town was at the epicentre of a major earthquake in 2011.
Stanier Black-Five is the solo project of New Zealand sound artist, writer and curator, Jo Burzynska, whose audio work is largely based on her own minimally processed environmental recordings. She uses these to create dense soundscapes that use both industrial sources such as the pounding rhythms of trains to natural phenomena, such as seismic activity.
“Don’t be fooled by its mock-historical title, the album’s three pieces zero in on the disembodied sonic textures of modern capitalism. As ships dock and steel containers move in transit, engines whirr and grind, and relentless mechanical rhythms are punctuated with sundry creaks, bleeps and clangs.”
Nick Cain, The Wire
On 22 February 2011, an earthquake measuring 6.3 on the Richter Scale hit Christchurch, which combined with a series of massive aftershocks destroyed huge swathes of the New Zealand city. At its epicentre in the port of Lyttelton, sound artist Jo Burzynska (Stanier Black-Five) grabbed a recording device as she ran from her home, leaving it running on her doorstep capturing the aftershocks that ricocheted though her house and the disaster unfolding on the street outside.
This unique recording of the first hour after the earthquake, as well the sounds of seismic and related phenomena of the months that followed, became the main source for Body Waves. The album is a series of three collaborative live performances made around the world with electro-acoustic performer Malcolm Riddoch (Zeug Gezeugt), who used feedback to tune Body Waves to the unique resonant frequencies of each acoustic space in which it was performed. In this vibroacoustic environment, the audience/listeners are immersed in music that goes beyond the auditory system to be felt in the body, akin to the experience of being in an earthquake.
“[Body Waves] pivots on rhythm and continuity, reformatting the sonic phenomena of seismic activity into a heavily layered dramatic composition. It’s component parts – dense bass frequencies oscillating into and back out of distortion, occasional impact crashes, washes of granular sound clouds and metallic drones – are rolled together into a cacophonous, surround-sound blast.”
Nick Cain, The Wire