Tottenham’s SoundFjord is expanding. Not in the insidious way that the corporate world is taking over the globe, but in the organic symbiosis that only a labour of love with a small but devoted following can. Open since 2010, SoundFjord has had pride of place as the only exhibition space of its kind in London and now they can add record label and pop up shop to the list of recent achievements. Available for a limited run at SoundFjord’s SOUND//SPACE at VV2 Summer Club in Bermondsey, the debut recording of London sound designer and artist aperture. diameter. amplitude. (ADA), Extended Transmission, is out on their fledgling label Visible Near Midnight Recordings. Here, in what they call the ‘sonification of electro-magnetic forces’ it explores a realm beyond human perception, while adding to the wordless discourse over sound art by its very existence.
After all, the exploration of sound is a specialised field but as an art form what is unique about it is that the act of listening is experience at its purest. Basically, you don’t have to have a degree to get it. There’s no right way of listening, no references you need to be aware of, no text book primer you should have. Instead there’s just the nuanced differences and idiosyncrasies one experiences just by existing.
Then there are the external aspects that contradict everything you’d expect to surround something so intangible. As an intensive listener might fixate on the speakers in a sparse exhibition space, so too will a hopeless audiophile collect all manner of sonic paraphernalia, extraneous to the product itself. Compact discs, MiniCDs and vinyl, books, zines and texts are collected in an effort to attach the ephemeral to the physical world.
In the same way as we try to give concreteness to what is in its essence transitory, we also revert to describing sound in a visual, symbolic way. With Extended Transmissions, it is metaphors that give its sounds shape, meaning and language. The three-part ‘transmissions’ that come to an easy 30-minutes, evoke the amplified movements of an insect, waves crashing or television static. It’s only in the ominous bass tones underlying the mix of field and studio recordings that are divorced from visual metaphor, while an ecstatic peak in sensation is an experience as pure as a chemical high.
And all this recorded through telephone pick up lines, radios and microphones. Funny, that something so natural should be made possible through technology; where indirect transmission captures life at its essence.