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More tracks by John Harvey: Studium
The source sample preserves the silence of a British Library reading room. This is a Cagian ‘silence’ – filled with the inadvertent and incidental noises of scholars turning pages, moving, adjusting their chairs, and coughing, along with the hum and whir of the air conditioner (and, on the recording, the gurgle and hiss of the digital medium). ‘Silence’ is variously a noun, an exclamation or a command, and a verb. For the purpose of this exercise, silence is defined as an act: the imposition of the condition of noiselessness.
The sample is treated as follows: it is divided into twenty-one equal sections. With the exception of the first and opening section (which preserves the sound of the original recording), the frequency range of each subsequent section is reduced incrementally following the measures indicated on a 20-band graphic equalizer: <31, 44, 63, 88, 125, 180, 250, 355, 500, 710, 1k, 1.4k, 2k, 2.8k, 4k, 5.6k, 8k, 11.3 k, 16k, and 22k Hz. In the first part of the track, the sample's frequencies are removed from the highest to the lowest and, in the second part, the same the sample's frequencies are removed from the lowest to the highest in order to achieve an approximation to audible silence.
Personnel: numerous anonymous scholars, librarians, and John Harvey.
Instrumentation: Sony MZ-RH10 Hi-MD Walkman Digital Music Player/Recorder, Sony ECM-DS70P microphone, and Adobe Audition CS6.
Context: recorded at Humanties 1, British Library, London (11.47 am, Tues. 19 Apr. 2005).
Source: the original sample is an extract from my ‘aural diary’ for 2005: a document of experience, sensation, place, and people made using audio recording.