Simon Whetham & Hugo Olim, Mic.Madeira

Simon Whetham & Hugo Olim

Crónica, dvd, Crónica 063, 2011
Field recording exploded as a practice in experimental music during the 2000s. It has been used in the most varied ways, transcending its basic nature of “sampling” the environment, and in some inspired cases evolving a more conscious sense of recording something specific, then trying to preserve the sense of that place in subsequent uses. This video is one of those cases, and it’s the revised version of a performance held at the MADEiRADiG festival in Madeira. Whetham took advantage of Olim being native of Madeira, and as with the best field recordings (using microphones and hydrophones), they explored a few landmarks, finding small, random gems along the way. A very nice documentary about this is included in the dvd, giving the viewer a “behind the scenes” view of the recordings. It also introduces a few local perspectives and give viewers the chance to appreciate the locations of the sounds recognizable in the performance. The recordings were composed in a multichannel way (and there’s also a luxurious 5.1 version). On the visual side, Olim used a microscope connected to a digital camera, magnifying exclusively typically local objects and substances. The video signal was also set to react live to specific audio frequencies coming from the recordings. The two scales (the visual “micro” and the sound “macro”) are both interacting with “invisible” Madeira; its DNA, the magnified molecules of its own territory and its sound-propagating air molecules.