Where is the Field of Field Recording?

Text written to accompany the cassette ‘Beijing 2016–2017’, released on Zoomin’ Nights Recordings, December 2017


[photo and design by Li Song]

What effect can captured sounds have in the world? What process are we setting in motion by switching on an audio recorder at a certain moment, and then switching it off again after a certain period of time? What is the significance of this act by the holder of the recording machine? What is the significance of the movement from sound as a register of location, to the abstract representation of sounds, to the registration of their playback format as a new location?

All the pieces on this cassette represent cuts out of time, taken from specific locations (in this case, between 2016 and 2017 in the city of Beijing, China).

As snippets of sound, maybe they actually tell us very little, as they are abstracted from their original situation and limited to the single sense of hearing. Yet in themselves it is expected that they provide some minimal description of a place and time; they can be appreciated as a limited reportage of the situations they were recorded in.

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