nedjelja, 8. prosinca 2013.

Moniek Darge - Sounds of Sacred Places (1987)

moniek darge - sounds of sacred places (album preview)

Temeljno djelo soudscape skladanja i soundscape kolažiranja.


"New 2011 edition of this cornerstone sound art collection, originally published in 1987 on LP by Igloo. Sounds of Sacred Places arrives in a high gloss 4-panel digipak with accompanying 16 page booklet of photos and notes. Remastered from the original tapes by Moniek Darge at the Logos Foundation, Gent. Edition of 500."

"In most ethnic cultures, sacred places serve an important social function. The qualities, typical of these places, explain to western people the magic magnetism of these 'holy grounds'. During our international Logos Duo concert tours we have had the opportunity to visit quite a few of these places. Uluru, the 'Shadowgiving Mountain' of the Aborigines, better known under its western name of Ayers Rock (Australia), impressed us more than any other. The presence of water and an enormous monolith in the midst of the vast desert plain is given as an explanation for its magical appeal. But to the Aborigines, each little place of the rock contains tracks of their ancestors, the 'Dreamtime People', who live in this mountain and speak to them in the sounds of the winds howling through the crevasses and rockholes. Uluru is also the dwelling-place of the 'World Serpent', the most powerful totem shared by the surrounding tribes. Sounds of Sacred Places attempts to transform the listener into a living witness of the sounds of similar places, not far away in any specific ethnic culture, but in Flanders." --Moniek Darge, 1987

Turkish Square

duration: 9'10"
sound sources: soundscapes, voices, violin, n-dimensio nal oscillator-system built by Godfried-Willem Raes
date: 1984-85
"Turkish Square" is a soundscape composition about a square some blocks away from the Logos Foundation Center in Ghent, Belgium.
That year, I made soundscapes, soundcollages, drawings, texts, slides, films of the different seasons and weather changes that affect the square.
The square is bordered at two sides by the power plant, at the remaining sides by small houses, where Turkish "guest"-workers and the poorest of the working-class people live; in the middle, some grass, bushes, small trees, a playground for children and little paths covered by the slag of the plant.
The growl of the powerplant drones on and on, rags of Turkish music and language mix with the far away clanging of a sunday church bell, sparce birdsongs, clouds of Flemish pop music, screams of fighting people, yelling women and crying children.
At times the square is covered with debris and junk; at times it is immaculate, with blossoming bushes and springgreen leaves. Snow, bright sunshine and strong rains affect a transformation both visual and acoustic. So does the smog, when hardly anybody goes out, and even the Turkish children stay inside...

Abbey Sounds

duration: 12'21"
sound sources: Soundscapes of doves on the roof of the former refectory of the St.Bavo Abbey in Ghent, Belgium, of the bell of the nearby St. Macarius Church and of flowing water.
Fellow artists give their impression of the old refectory, now the Lapidary Museum:
Guy De Bievre and Yves De Graeve (Dutch), Franck Venaille (French), David Moss of Vermont, U.S.A. (English), John King and Charlie Morrow of New York City, taped by phone (English)
date: 1986-87
"AbbeySounds" wants to be a ritual celebration of a serenity typical of the twelfth century Romanesque St. Bavo Abbey refectory in Ghent. The hypnotic sounds of the space itself - with their repetitive character and natural echo - are blended into one with the voices. Together they might evoke the mystical atmosphere and the mysterious magnetism of this place.
"AbbeySounds", as well as "Turkish Square", was born out of frequent visits over more than a year to this location, and under very different circumstances. While "Turkish Square" deals with dramatic changes ( seasons, weather variations, different times of the day and presence or absence of children ), "AbbeySounds" spins a very subtle web of delicate variations, due to the intimate and protective privacy of the space. This fragility is intensified even more by the silent, static presence of the dark grey heavy tombstones, which reminds us of the monolith and its monumentality. The water evokes the timelessness of the rock face, into which the ancestors disappeared. The birds link reality and the dreamworld.
The impressive Romanesque abbey refectory dates from the end of the twelfth century and is the tallest in Belgium. The refectory kept its original function as dining room of the monks until the beginning of the sixteenth century. During more than three centuries religious texts were read aloud from a recess in the southern wall during meals. "AbbeySounds", records some first impressions of this majestic space, resounding from this same niche. Originally the space was covered by a flat wooden ceiling. Eight suggestive rows of white threads hang from the amazing height.
In 1540 Charles V, together with his architect and the feared duke of Alva, while overlooking the town from the top of St. John's church (now St.Bavo's, the cathedral of Ghent), decided to demolish the abbey, to replace it with a citadel, which was scornfully referred to as "The Spanish Castle". But at the very last minute the refectory escaped destruction. After a period of forty years as an arsenal, it was transformed into a garrison chapel: the floor at the east end was heightened a few steps to serve as the sanctuary, the flat ceiling was replaced with an immense roof of girdle vaults. Seven burning "AbbeySounds" candels under seven rusted rings, which give the impression of floating between heaven and earth, are the silent witnesses.
The Spaniard Castle was demolished during the first half of the nineteenth century and the former refectory found new use as the house of worship of St. Macarius, the plague fighter, one of the abbey's most important saints since its early days.
Some fifty years later a new church was dedicated to St. Macarius nearby and the former refectory received another use. From the sixteenth until the eighteenth century churches and monasteries sold tombstones to the citygovernment, which used them as work materials for bridges and floodgates. At the end of the nineteenth century these waterworks were renovated or demolished, many of these often thirteenth century stones were salvaged. The massive black slabs, polished by the water, were stacked in the former refectory. There they remain anchored to the walls, in an impressive unity with the space itself.
Thus the eating monks metamorphose into a silent and immobile row of eroded silhouettes, serene images reclining against the walls.


duration: 7'00"
sound sources: voice amplified by a larynxmicrophone, soundscape of rain
date: 1980 (recorded in 1982)
a large closed wooden box / the drone of steady rain / slowly the cover opens
a naked body, hunched up / a voice
the lid descends, slowly
drizzle of steady rain / a large wooden closed box

Solstice Sun

duration: 10'19"
materials: a soundmontage processed in the Logos Studio of the voice of the "Roland" bell, the moaning of its wooden scaffolding and the echo of several smaller bells of the Ghent belfry-carillon
date: April 1985
"Solstice Sun", a soundscape-montage realised at the request of the New York New Wilderness Foundation, and broadcast by several radio stations in the U.S.A. as a "sample-tape", promoting the Flemish Logos-Duo participation in the "Fifth International Radio Solstice Event", is a celebration of the sun, which has always brought warmth to all creatures on earth with its ray-arms of light.
All of a sudden the tower's mightiest bell starts swinging around its axis and the enormous, heavy clapper slowly strikes the bronze body with a deafening tremendous clang; the wooden framework in which the bell is suspended, creaks and groans, heavily taxed, with a strident and sepulchral voice. A multitude of bells answer in multiple strokes and echoes, in an attempt to seduce time to follow the sun's example, halting for a single moment on its relentless path. At last, the resonance slowly dies out. For the first time in history the giant of Ghent was heard at the other end of the world, celebrating the sun with its fierce voice of freedom, peace and love.

Three Sunbeams

duration: 5'35"
materials: The echo of nine Hemony bells of the Ghent belfry tower. The sounds were recorded with specially built contact microphones by Godfried-Willem Raes, and were attached to the bodies of the bells.
players: Guy De Bievre, Tom Flamant, Moniek Darge
Godfried-Willem Raes (technical work and sound engineer)
date: May 1985 / creation 15 June, 1985
"Three Sunbeams" was conceived as part of the "Fifth International Radio Solstice Event", an hour long live radio broadcast from the Ghent belfry, in multiplex with New York City and Auckland, New Zealand.
Nine Hemony bells of the belfry museum of the tower are gently stroked by mallets with a steady beat.
Slowly, each successive bell sounds the overtones of the one before, followed then by consonant groupings. The score evokes "Three Sunbeams" . . . The sounds slip roguishly through the slats in the windows and merse with the sun. -

As far as I can tell, this is Moniek Darge‘s unique solo recording, and a major release in the field of location recording and sound poetry. She is well known today as a violinist, performer, creator of numerous music-boxes and half of the Logos Duo with Godfried-Willem Raes (see previous post). She is assistant professor at the Hogeschool Ghent, Belgium. Darge wrote a book on Annea Lockwood (published on the Gynaika belgian imprint) and an article on Maori music ‘Traditional Maori-music from New-Zealand’ [+], after making field recordings in New-Zeeland that included Maori chanting. ‘Sounds of Sacred Places’ is devoted to what she calls ‘soundscapes’, that is, sound art based on location recordings from the Flanders area, specifically churches and abbeys from Ghent. Sounds include: bells, doves, children, rain, oscillators courtesy G-W Raes. ‘Turkish Square’ is build on interviews and location recordings of a turkish community in Ghent, gathering around a derelict square (pictured above). It starts with electronics by Raes and then builds on lively vocals and field recordings. ‘Abbey Sounds’ is a montage of several contributors’ voices (including: David Moss, Frank Venaille, John King, Charlie Morrow – see Tellus #2, 1984 – and others) amid the insistent doves’ cooing. French poet Venaille is improvising an exquisite, fantastic story in french, of a bird king living in the old abbey for ages. Other contributors are dutch or english speaking. The last 2 tracks are electroacoustic music build from bell sounds only, the last one very quietly ending this excellent collection of tracks. See actual LP liner notes on this page. -

Five pieces recorded at various public sites between 1984 and 1987. My favorite is the opening track, "Turkish Square", actually recorded in Ghent at a site of the same name, incorporating, among other things, an "n-dimensional" oscillating system built by Darge's partner, Godfried-Willem Raes. This system generates rich, thick tones that sound as though they might vibrate any metal in the vicinity (reminds me a bit of those produced by Max Neuhaus' Times Square installation) which are enjoyable enough, but are only enhanced by the sounds of kids cavorting, whistles, voices call for "Yusef", a woman speaking rapidly, quietly, over a threatening rumble. A fine piece. The remaining four tracks are all enjoyable if, to these ears, a bit less so. In "Abbey-Sounds", several people, in several languages, narrate their thoughts about the space over recordings of doves that occupy the roof and other quasi-avian sounds. "Rain" is just that, accompanied by the strangled utterances (or Darge, I take it), recorded via a mic right alongside her larynx. It's disturbing and uncomfortable, bother me a bit, not necessarily in a good way. David Moss is one of the voices on the preceding track and the voice here annoyingly reminds me a bit of his. The last two pieces utilize a bell, apparently this one, the first in a muffled and fairly steady series of strikes in which the initial attack has been processed out (fascinating sound!) the last in a slow set of strikes where overtones overlap, a little woozy, perhaps, but easily capable of being luxuriated in. -

Filmed for the forthcoming Wijk Project from Victoria Deluxe
by Steve Shorrock Download (11:22 - mpg file - 270 MB)

These alternative music boxes tell a poetic audio-visual story, with tiny sounds, subtle light reflections and a little liberating kitsch or humour as ingredients. Music boxes have fascinated me since childhood. Once I visited a small family museum at the back of the Beaubourg in Paris, to discover the most fabulous collection I've ever seen or heard. Since that day, music-making has become even more exciting: I visit flea markets, looking for the most appealing, still silent, box and listening to the sounds in my head. What kind of sound will I decide to let escape from what kind of box? Once a box has been chosen I start working on the visuals. Little by little my ears become pregnant with the most appropriate sounds.
Soundscaping and building alternative music boxes are adventurous journeys into the audio-visual world. The vast universe of audio art is there to be explored. - 
Moniek Darge

A selection of music boxes at the Audioframes exhibition during the
Happy New Ears Festival, Kortrijk

Sound sculpture, music boxes & "watertransparanten"


music boxes


music boxes performances
(click on the pictures to see a complete overview...)


Available MP3 and RealAudio fragments

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