Michael Young

These soundscapes were composed for exhibitions by photographic artist John Goto

Capital Arcade

'Mir hat die Welt trüglich gericht't
Mit Lügen und mit falschem G'dicht'

(The world has judged me deceitfully,with lies and false words)

from Bach, St Matthew Passion

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more pictures on John Goto's site

Loss of Face

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A collaborative exhibition juxtaposing over a hundred defaced images with an electronic score. Loss of Face consists of 104 images digitally printed onto cotton paper, each 16x 20 framed, unglazed, and an intermittent soundscape of seven self-contained pieces.

Over three years, photographic artist John Goto visited parish churches across Norfolk, Suffolk and South Devon searching out paintings of saints and angels on the few remaining medieval rood screens. All were defaced during the iconoclasms of the Reformation and Civil War. By cropping the images in close, Goto emphasises the individuality of faces stripped of symbolic signs and meaning. Accumulatively these images reveal the obsessive methods and techniques of destruction.

Michael Young returned to sites of Goto's visits to make recordings, documenting a number of chance occurences (including bell ringing, organ tuning). The resulting sound collages are sonic images that distort, usurp and vandalise their sources and own content. Field recordings, taken around Norfolk, as well as other 'found' materials and sonic images of 9 Sept. 01, provide the basis for computer-based processes of fragmentation, transformation and collage. The sound plays sporadically and invasively in the exhibition space.

the sermon: an imaginary preacher emotes - his frenzied utterances multiply into a host of jabbering splutters. An undisguised voice, eloquent but inarticulate, fanatical but unmeaning.

ludham bells : The five bells of St Catherine?s in the Norfolk village of Ludham intone a series of melodic patterns; each one is underpinned by a slower version of itself, alluding to the Medieval practice of mensuration canon.

tuning (canon a 3) : A record of the tuning of Norwich cathedral organ. The single organ notes are edited into three sections (the third a compressed version of the first) and superimposed into three layers creating a canon in three parts. The canonic method produces harmony from an arbitrary sequence of notes, some of which shift in pitch as the tuning process occurs.

gallery: Dedicated to Norwich Gallery - where Loss of Face was first shown - superimposing sound of the gallery on itself. Fragments of earlier pieces, featuring soprano and violins, appear like exhibited memories in this acoustical gallery. Sadly, Norwich Gallery is now permanently closed.

stab-at-mater: The first verse of Palestrina's Stabat Mater coalesces into an evolving texture of sustained voices. Human content progressively strips away until only noise remains. Her soul, sighing and anguished, was pierced by a sword.

holy shit: Audio from the World Trade Center attacks, sirens, city noise and this simple expletive from a witness, is distorted and prolonged. A singer occasionally intervenes, with hum from a rock guitar.

zealots: Stabbing and sawing sounds are in counterpoint with this free jazz improv; a violent and percussive commentary . Intensity is borne out by the involuntary vocalisations integral to each.



New World Circus

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In this sonic circus the main act is an amateur travelling band, its music layered and interspersed with sound bites from politicians, animals, mechanistic war & its attendant reportage: these elements meet their ironic reflection in the danger and thrill of real circus performances recorded for this exhibition. The music seeks to create tension in the imaginary spaces between Goto's images.

Goto writes "The circus idea came to me one morning when I saw a torn poster in a run down part of Derby for Uncle Sam's Circus. The idea appealed both because of the disparaging analogy of politics and power to a circus, but also because since childhood I have continued to visit the big top...To comment on the Iraq war and go beyond the conventions of agitprop or satire, I have a feeling that something absurd and oddly humorous is required. The humour needs to be directed at all of us as we are all implicated." More..

  last updated 25-04-2011