Score Tae The Toor is a new book and CD publication / release inspired by the Concrete Antenna sound installation at Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop created by Simon Kirby, Tommy Perman and Rob St John. The trio gave a set of musicians access to their sound archive, tower instruments and compositions, and asked them to re-imagine the sited material created for… Read more →
Harbour Fireworks is taken from Concrete Antenna, a sound installation and album exploring the past, present and imagined future of Newhaven in Edinburgh. Much of the sonic palette for this track is derived from recordings of firework displays in the area. We tend to assume that fireworks are designed purely for their visual impact. However, for their creators, the sound they make is equally important. We can think of them as highly effective, single-use percussion instruments. Whereas drums make sound by creating pressure waves through the movement of a diaphragm, an explosion is a much more direct and effective source of noise. (The loudest sound in history was created by Krakatoa exploding in 1883. The percussion created was recorded on barometers around the world as it circled the earth four times before fading away. It even briefly shifted global sea levels as the atmosphere rang like a bell.) The sounds of fireworks are divided into four types: retorts and crackles created by staged explosions; hums created by fireworks spinning as they burn; and whistles created by rapid on/off pulsing of the burning fuel resonating with the surrounding air. Whatever the type, as the distance from a firework increases, its characteristic sound changes. It is modified by wind and temperature gradients and humidity in the air, as well as reverberation caused by multiple reflections between ground and buildings. When we listen to these recordings of fireworks over Newhaven, what we hear carries with it an imprint of the geography of Edinburgh, its hills, streets and buildings, as well as the neighbouring sea.
Branch Line is the second single to be taken from the Concrete Antenna LP. This video was shot on Super 8 film by Tommy Perman around railway lines – both abandoned and in use – in North Edinburgh. The track layers and processes field recordings of steam engines and foghorns using manipulated tape loops and convolution reverbs. The developed Super 8 film underwent a second round of processing as it was encased in cement and moss for a month. When unearthed, the film had developed new flares, marks, lines and etchings: the landscape around the Concrete Antenna tower visually altered and reframed.