Joel Cahen > Creating Surround Sound Narratives // Part.3

Following the week residency at the Steim Studio, surrounded by octaphonic soundscapes of varying levels of abstraction, I reverted to a project I made for my final year show at LCC in 2004 where I mapped out an area in sound and created a audio ‘game’ environment navigatable by the listener using a joystick. This is the direction I will pursue with this project at least in framework because it divides the sound space into still soundscape clusters (these might have dynamic and durational sound elements for sub-narratives), the communication and navigation between these clusters, assisted by various catalysts, makes the story.
The creation of these sound clusters was done by collating various associative sound elements (foley, muffled text, musical tracks, soundscapes, etc…). Then I sequenced them in the space with a narrative intention as well as used them in an improvisational multichannel mash up. The latter method relies more on a collative understanding of the elements used, their exact sequence not as relevant, rather their nature, drama and interaction in space give the total impression of the sound cluster.
Far from finished, but in the right direction…
A bit about myself:
• I have realised a lot of my sound work is collage based stuff, using any sound source as a legitimate element in composition, indiscriminately mixing and modulating other people’s music with my own, film excerpts recordings, live instruments, whatever genre – one big abstract mash up.
This has entertained me for some time now mainly through regular radio shows I was presenting and playing live at on London’s Resonance 104.4fm since 2005. The nature of these mash ups has evolved to this project of trying to contextualise these mash ups in a narrative framework but yet keeping the abstraction of the soundsources. i sometimes play under the name of Spax.
>> to listen to the radio shows on their different incarnations (the most recent one is Soundsoup) here:
• I have also been developing a project called Wet Sounds which installs in Swimming Pools to a floating and diving audience who are literaly immersed in the sound which is only audible underwater. I also play through a double sound system (one above and one below) this creates three distinct soundsystems (one above the water, one below the water and one both as the listener floats on the surface). I play a sound collage similar to what I described but more suitable for underwater listening. The project is also open to an annual selection of sound art works which are played as well in the concert and represented in the online sound art gallery. Wet sounds has been touring since 2008 at swimming pools in the UK and in Europe at various festivals (AV Festival, ISEA, Helsinki Festival, Ultima, Nu Musik and many more)
• Another project I do is Scrap Club, a public Destructivist activity, which involves collecting stuff that people throw away and getting people to smash them to bits using sledgehammers. Lots more here
• My other music project is a solo noise ordeal I subject people to occasionally… I call it Avalanche Noiz, fascinated by the convolving rumble and bulbous noise and its spatial elements. This and other trax can be heard on
Other stuff that I do is on the Newtoy website

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