Dubplates of field recordings have been central to my work since my first exhibition in summer 2009. I showed a short video piece and performed a duo with artist Gary Fisher, using a dubplate of my video’s soundtrack. In various installations, compositions and site-specific performances I have also included field recording dubplates.
I favour recordings of mundane or prosaic soundscapes, recontextualised to draw attention to the layers, textures and intricacies present in the sounds of day-to-day life. The first time I played a DJ set with the dubplates was at the Merzbarn, Cumbria in 2011, as part of a weekend residency with other experimental musicians. In a nod to Dada absurdity I borrowed the technical gestures and mixing protocol from dancefloor focused DJ sets. This also gave me a set of compositional constraints: playing a maximum of two recordings at once, only using volume and EQ controls on the mixer to manipulate the sound.
The dubplates I use carry their own stories, battlescars from past usage, which come to the fore in clicks, pops, crackle and hiss. This extra layer of texture is something I encourage, blurring the distinction between figure and ground.
The recording for the cassette follows the same protocol – an absurd, abstract sound collage performed for an empty dancefloor. I chose Corsica Studios in which to make the recording as a keystone of London’s innovative clubscene with a unique character, based inside two railway arches in the strange urban infrastructure of Elephant & Castle. The hum of the laser-lighting’s cooling fans and the punctuating rumbles from trains passing overhead add further layers of sound to the piece.
In making the recording I followed the flow of the sounds present, imposing sounds from other spaces, improvising translations and overlays. The listener inhabits several real and imagined spaces simultaneously, including their chosen listening environment and hiss from the cassette tape.
Nightclubs are places where time can be inverted. Clock-time becomes irrelevant and duration is measured in flows, shifting blocks of affect. Using an empty nightclub, records without music and exposed unwanted noises I wanted to take an imprint or residual negative. Ghosts dissolving into the dancefloor, from dawn till dusk.
“This split release features field recording works from sound artists Tom Wallace and Graham Dunning, who have both presented recordings at the ongoing Earshots concert series. These two artists have each taken a contrasting approach to the idea of field recording as a work that can be presented to a live audience. This release captures each artist’s unique method of playback.
“On the A side, Tom Wallace presents six forest recordings taken in South East Asia sampling a number of acoustic landscapes at different times of the day, from dawn until dusk, and into the night. On the B side, Graham Dunning performs a DJ set using dubplates that he has produced with field recordings of the local urban environment and its people; this set was recorded live on four microphones at Corsica Studios, London, in March 2016”