Resonifying the city at Audacious

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Resonifying the cityOver 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 CameraZOOM-20140302145808716juxtaposition 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! (CD – Entr’acte)

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AVast Cover 158Avast! 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

Stanier Black-Five & Zeug Gezeugt – Body Waves (CD – Entr’acte)

Body Waves coverOn 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

http://www.entracte.co.uk/projects/stanier-b-fzeug-gezeugt-e157/

Album releases on Entr’acte

StanierBlack5 backdrop smallStanier Black-Five will be releasing two albums on Entr’acte this month (September 2013): Avast! and Body Waves, the latter a collaboration with Zeug Gezeugt. The release coincides with the Body Waves tour of Europe.

Stanier Black-Five
Avast!
Entr’acte CD (E158)

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 ampthitheatre 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 & Zeug Gezeugt
Body Waves
Entr’acte  CD (E157) 

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 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.

Global Ear — Christchurch (The Wire, January 2013)
New Zealand TV report about Body Waves

Stepping out: installation

Stanier Black-Five has created Stepping Out, an installation injecting the noise of daily life back into the earthquake ravaged CBD of Christchurch, New Zealand. Situated under a walkway, it reflects the sounds of a busy city back onto a once bustling central thoroughfare. As people increasingly return to the street the installation will gradually disappear into the clamour of a revitalised city centre..

“This work brings back the once rich sonic life of this central stretch of Colombo Street, which was once full of shoppers, travellers, revellers, cars and buses,” explains the artist of the work, which opened on Sunday 14th July under the walkway linking the reopened Ballantynes store with the abandoned The Crossing Centre. “The installation is created from the sounds of daily life that vanished from the area following the earthquakes.”

“However, with the reopening of the street and the rebuild of the area, these sounds will naturally return,” she notes. “They will merge with the installation, which will effectively be erased when the area returns to its former levels of noisy activity.”

The installation is ongoing over the coming months and is situated under the bridge in the block between Cashel & Lichfield Streets in the Christchurch CBD.