you know i was just re-reading an early post i made about listening to Toop/Eastley’s music and i must say . .. it is very true that we get swept away by the creative poetic veneer of soundscape studies – the mingling of ocean and gamelan, the drum of rain on the floorboards, the chirp of birds and the concert of bees.
it is metaphorical and image creating – it’s an evocation of multi-sensory perception (sight sound smell touch even if your eyes are shut) that moves away from the sound being just about the sound. maybe thats why field recordings are characteristically underwhelming and that they don’t quite have the same effect of transcendence that a simple line of poetry or narration does. This makes the works of Janet Cardiff, Pauline Oliveros, and Andra Mccartney come further forward in the creation of multilayered narratives with voice and text and interactive installations with field recordings that allow soundscapes to be what they are, and yet allow us to do what we naturally do with sound.
sounds cannot be neutral. Remember Doug Kahn’s critique of Cage’s music. if we open all sound to music, sound can’t be sound anymore.. it’s a compositional endgame. sounds have to remain as sounds because they evoke physiological responses deeply rooted in the evolutionary design of the body that does not prerequisite a so-called primed ear.
quick research show’s a group that has done Projects for prepared ear .. not quite the same idea, but interesting stuff:
listening pillow. that is an inspired take on an actual filed patent (1994) for a pillow that allows one to hear in stereo even when lying on one side (haven’t they heard of the headphone?!)
incidentally i would like to learn sign language.