Friday, 27 July 2018

Location Location Location...

A supplement to yesterday's post about Chernobyl, I wanted to mention Jacob Kirkegaard's 2008 album 4 Rooms, which provided the soundtrack (among others) to my reading of Serhii Plokhy's book Chernobyl: The History of a Nuclear Catastrophe. The Lustmord/Robert Rich album Stalker was also pressed into service over the course of the book, but Kirkegaard's album offered a more profound resonance by the fact that it was recorded within the Zone of Exclusion. Taking inspiration from Alvin Lucier's 1970 sound work I Am Sitting In a Room, Kirkegaard traveled to Ukraine in October 2005 and selected four spaces within the Zone - four abandoned rooms that were once busy meeting places for the people of Pripyat before the nuclear disaster. In each of the 4 rooms - a church, an auditorium, a swimming pool, and a gymnasium, Kirkegaard set up his recording equipment to capture 10 minutes of silence. Upon returning to each of the rooms, Kirkegaard played the recordings back within the space, repeating the procedure a further 10 times to produce a set of dense, layered drones. Using some subtle post-production effects Kirkegaard has given each of the four lonely places a remarkable sonic personality, the overtones infused with spectral echoes and reverberations, and in the case of the recording captured at the gymnasium, a shrill metallic timbre which seems entirely keeping with the curious phenomena of visitors to the Zone experiencing a metallic taste when breathing the air of the radioactive environment. The following pictures were taken by Jacob Kirkegaard during the recording sessions.


Church


Auditorium


Swimming Pool


Gymnasium

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