This is a piece of music in 8 geolocated sections for location (field) recordings, synthesizers, and percussion. It is experienced through the Echoes app and a pair of headphones. When you arrive at a specific location in the National Botanical Gardens, that location’s music will be triggered on the Echoes app. Collectively the music lasts for about 25 minutes. The sections can be heard in any order dependant on the user’s route. By taking in each of the eight locations, the total walk should last a little under an hour.
Growing up close by, the National Botanic Gardens in Glasnevin have been foundational throughout my life. They were a place of exploration through my young childhood; a picturesque backdrop for photographing coming of age family events; a place of solace & escape through my teenage & young adult years; and throughout COVID-19 lockdown, it was one of the few places where it was possible to meet friends & family at a distance.
Now as a father, it is a place of exploration once more, as I visit almost on a weekly basis with my young son. Moreover, it continues to be a place of solace & comfort. My dad is buried right next door in Glasnevin Cemetery, and when he died during strict lockdown in 2021, knowing that he was buried in such a beautiful place, surrounded by such an abundance of life, brought solace when we were robbed of the traditional grieving rituals that help us deal with such loss.
On 27 January 2023, myself and my four-year-old son went exploring some of our favourite spots in the National Botanical Gardens, and by making location (field) recordings collected sounds that excited us. I have taken these location recordings home, and augmented or ornamented them by articulating the resonant frequencies found on the recordings on synthesizers and other instruments I have at home. The location recordings you can hear are the result of naively listening to not only the environment around us, but our place, and our impact within it. As a result, there is no attempt to edit or remove ourselves from the recordings, and at times you can hear myself and my son discussing things that we hear and see with wonder and appreciation.
I hope you enjoy this little ornamented soundwalk guided by myself and a four-year-old, and enjoy exploring the beauty of the National Botanical Gardens. Feel free to follow the path that we took, or to make your own way around the different geolocations.
I made this piece as preparatory research for an different work I'm currently writing for Plus Minus Ensemble as part of Zubin Kanga's Cyborg Soloists UKRI Future Leaders Fellowship at Royal Holloway University of London.
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Ornamental Sounds for Socrates by the Tolka River
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