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So Loud In Here: A fugue for 9 voices

After Aaron and I conscientiously recorded about twenty minutes of audio each last week (on the street, over pedestrians’ shoulders, in the library, and in the bathroom, naturally), we decided that though hearing the sounds abstracted from the actions that produced them was interesting, the sounds themselves weren’t really the stuff of narrative but were too generic to be the stuff of high-concept audio art. And after the introductory sound editing class, we decided to scrap the clips entirely. Our goal was to focus on creating (aural but also conceptual) complexity from simple sounds.

We were brainstorming on the floor when we were overwhelmed by the noise around us. Everywhere, people talking, laughing, coughing, tinkering, snickering, yelling, chewing, yawning… I thought it might be fun to use the idea of a fugue (one theme, several voices transposing, altering, and/or answering that theme) as a structure for our piece. We toyed with recording a single sentence in multiple languages but settled on a single sentence eventually spoken by nine people.

We started using a Blue Snowball mic, but it produced so much noise that we switched to the more cumbersome shotgun mic and M-Audio combination. In fifteen minutes, we’d collected our clips. Editing them took, uh, significantly longer. We used Audacity to process and chop up the raw clips and then dropped them into Garage Band. Other than a couple of volume swells, a left-to-right pan, and several strategic echoes, what you hear are the unaltered and distinctive voices of ITP, where if you’re looking for quiet, you’re literally fugued!

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