UTS Assignment: The volume of isolation

room 1 ECHOES


My Echo is set walking from the corner of Lee street onto George street and down into the subway, taking the escalator down and walking through the long hallway that takes you to the opal card readers into central. The speed should be set to 4.8kms Walking through Sydney everytime I come to Uni leads me to meet and see a lot of different people, but one thing I have noticed specifically was the homeless population. Many people nowadays struggle deeply with mental health including people I know and having that develop into something that may leave you homeless is a terrifying thought that unfortunately many people struggle with. Unable to cope with the weight of their own psychology these people are abandoned by society, isolated, ignored and helpless. I wanted to empathise with that concept in my walk, starting at the traffic island in broadway where many homeless people kneel day after day begging for money, the track creates the sensation of rising, albeit dazed and disoriented. The concept is that you are currently suffering a mental breakdown and due to your circumstance, both physical and financial you are trapped in a cycle of torment as many people are today. You travel across the road as the intensity and confusion seems to build. This section is composed entirely of Guitar, the purpose of which was to take something everyone is familiar with and make it almost unrecognisable, the combinations of tremolo and delay create a synth like texture which I found most people were unable to pinpoint as a guitar. The larger more dynamic power chords take you back to that familiarity but still leaves you with this unfamiliar texture and a growing dynamic field. Your character knows where he is, just not completely. Down into central you are surrounded with people all ignoring your presence, the rolling sound of suitcases become deafening as the track erupts into its second section. The track now emulates Pink floyd's Breathe in the Air, a song that catalogues the psychotic break of Syd Barrett. Drawing on this idea I tried to make the track feel like you're floating, cruising along albeit with a suspense riding beside you, some sense of unknown danger, building towards something. The section is haunted with subway inspired bells which pan ear to ear, designed to make you turn your head and surprise you, emulating paranoia and a lack of spatial awareness. An ambient texture is layered underneath containing voices, laughter and room sounds to fill the soundscape and flesh out the ‘picture’. As you exit the tunnel the last section begins, its short and full as you have now come into a large spacious room with nowhere to go other than up the stairs and back out again. As all the other people around you flock past the opal card readers you are bound by a financial boundary, symbolising both your lack of money and the struggles of escaping homelessness in Australia. The last section is heavily inspired by Eurithmic’s themesong for the movie 1984 in which the main character Winston is left broken and helpless at the end of the film. This was an idea I wanted to continue, forcing you to restart your journey, leave the subway station, head up the stairs and back onto the streets, unable to ever really escape. The instrumentation I chose was retro and psychedelic, drawing on those Pink floyd and Eurythmics inspired sounds I mentioned earlier. I wanted to frame the echo from an older perspective, someone who had seen the world and through their inner struggles now found themself helpless.



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