Sound Clip: Babbleon Cork by Gavin Prior
“Babbleon Cork” is the result of my residency in the Guesthouse in May 2010. I’ve created an audio collage in three parts composed solely of sounds recorded during my time in Cork. With my portable recorder, I moved through the city guided by suggestions from Corkonians, my ears and serendipity. I had certain recording locations in mind but many of the sounds were stumbled upon or lured me away from my intended destination.
As a musician/producer I’m used to generating the sounds I want to hear. Field recordings are only an occasional element in my work. In Cork my job was to listen keenly and to seek out interesting places and people to record my source material. Working within a strict set of limitations I used only the material I could find in the city to produce the collage, making conventionally ‘musical’ passages solely from found sound. I avoided effects (apart from some EQ scrubbing up) because I wanted to keep it visceral and life-like. I felt driven to create a contemporary, urban soundtrack when the voices featured are those of skateboarders and hoodie-clad party-goers.
I frequented areas I wouldn’t normally spend time in when visiting Cork so we hear teenagers spouting racism in a city centre chipper and perspectives on the economy from a homeless man and carousing economics students. Sometimes I changed my appearance to blend in and others I engaged with people to draw out their stories. Cork sounds much like any other Irish city but the undulous Cork accent is truly unique. There’s a documentary element with space for city-dwellers to share their stories and opinions. The emotional content of the direct speech is soundtracked and enhanced by the abstract, “instrumental” elements in the collage. I simply followed my ears during the residency without a theme in mind but during the editing/assembly process themes and connections revealed themselves.