We are celebrating World Listening Day 2014 today by making and uploading a specially made sound work.
Do you secretly sing in the shower or bath?
The work combines two independent recordings made by two vocalists from the Wild Singing collective, Jennie Howell and Ellen Southern.
Each will simultaneously make a recording of themselves taking a bath and a shower respectively. They will listen anew to the sounds around these everyday activities, and use their voices to echo, respond, improvise, creating a dialogue between sound making and listening practices. These two ‘duets’ will be overlaid, and released as a layered track, a ‘quartet’ of two voices interacting with water in two ways.
1:30 pm – Ellens recording is made
“I opened the squeaky door, pressed record, and stood still to just hear the dripping of water in the pipes in the bathroom. A ping ping of the light as I I turned on the extractor fan, and realised it had 2 main pitches, and a kind of throbbing rhythm too, a kind of drone. I used my voices to tune into these , as I got into the shower. With the water running, a new world of sounds exploded in my ears. I used my voice in tandem with rubbing shampoo in my hair, vocalised the downward movement of the water, and created textural sounds by blowing air across and through the water stream with my face in the full flow of the water. I returned to the drone / extractor fan towards the end of the shower, and combined my voice with the sound and movements of towel-drying my hair. Finally, the pitched pings of the light being turned off.”
1:30 pm – Jennies recording is made
I took a recording device into the bathroom and pressed record. With the bath water running I found myself singing spontaneously to the sound, pausing the recording when the bath was half full, and recording again 15 minutes later when pulling the plug, again singing to the sound of the water draining away and the water pump.
2.00pm I listened to this recording through monitor speakers and found myself spontaneously singing. I paused the recording for approximately 10 seconds in order to grab my recording device to capture (approximately twenty seconds into the track). I then overlaid this track with Ellen’s recording to synchronise the moment when the shower is turned on with the running bath water.
In the resulting track three voices and three water sources merge to create a multi layered sound piece. Our initial starting idea was to each create a duet. As always, there are no rules and the point of experimentation for me is to not know what is going to happen beyond the initial idea, and be ready to capture those moments without interference with the flow of spontaneity. JH
Singing in the bath
I am aware that I sing spontaneously to the sound of water being run for a bath and when the water is draining away. I could say this response is involuntary and for a long time did not notice that I stop singing the moment the water stopped running. When I do sing in the bath or bathroom without the sound of running water it is deliberate singing, for example to make use of the resonance of the bathroom to practice a choral line or a melody I might be currently learning or fresh in my mind from a recent singing related rehearsal. The experience of singing deliberately is distinct from the singing that happens in response to the sound of water (specifically running a bath) most importantly, for me, is I do not know what will happen, and this is the buzz of improvisation. JH