[microsound-announce] New Release: Iain Armstrong: “Sacred & Profane” (GrDl 123/13) GruenDigital

Lasse-Marc Riek lasseart at gmx.de
Fri Mar 1 11:40:51 EST 2013

Exclusive download edition:

Iain Armstrong: “Sacred & Profane” (GrDl 123/13)
Field Recordings
15 Tracks (66:49)


The recordings in this collection span several years and several
countries. They are essentially documents of my travels as a tourist
with a microphone. Each soundscape was recorded in a sacred place, or
captures the sound of a sacred ritual. This notion of sacred sounds was
the initial thematic concept for the collection. However, while
selecting and preparing the material I became more aware of the secular
sounds that are present alongside the religious sounds I originally set
out to record – the profane. These commonplace, usually quieter sounds
have a powerful ability to frame, contextualise and ground the listener,
drawing one back from the spiritual and abstract, to the concrete.

What is also interesting for me, as a non-religious visitor / listener /
observer, is how one feels as an outsider, sometimes literally confined
to the outside of the temple. In this scenario, I am uninitiated in the
mysteries and rites of the religion, but yet participate in my own
tourist rituals of visiting these ‘important religious sites of
interest’, and documenting them with numerous photographs or sound
recordings. I am required to partake in rituals such as ‘remove your
shoes and place them in the plastic carrier bag provided’ to carry with
me whilst visiting mosques in Istanbul.  I exchange my Thai Baht for 108
satang to make offerings to the reclining Buddha in Wat Pho. I find
myself asking to what extent do these acts really demonstrate reverence?
Is there some irreverence in the manner that one ‘collects’ religious

Religious sites and activities have historically been one of the most
prominent contributors to the soundscapes of human habitation, and in a
world that grows increasingly noisy these sounds often still prevail;
though their reach may be somewhat limited or require amplification.
Ironically, it is within the architecture of these same sites that one
may seek relative silence, or certainly a hushed sanctuary when the
tourists have subsided.

And so this duality of the sacred and the profane, of prominent
punctuation and muted quietude, inside and outside, came to influence my
process of deciding what sounds to include in this collection and where,
within each recording, to make the cut.

Field Recording Series by Gruenrekorder
Gruenrekorder / Germany / 2013 / GrDl 123 / LC 09488

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