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What I Leave Behind I Bring With Me

Photo Credit: Adam Sloan

Liverpool based sound artist Laura Campbell has started a new podcast titled “What I Leave Behind I Bring With Me,” available to stream on Apple Podcasts. Here Laura talks more about her experiences during lockdown.

Walking and recording became a daily activity during lockdown. It became a way of listening more deeply to where I lived, listening to newly uncovered sounds. Without the veil of traffic noise, there was an unexpected space to hear other things, hidden reverbs, tonalities, echos. Sounds from outside became amplified in the silence, bringing the outdoor ambience into the inside through open windows, more noticeable than ever. I have always been interested in how the sound of a place can make you feel, and I feel recording binaurally, with nowhere for me to hide, creates a more immersive and exposing sonic picture.

I became interested in the difference in the sound of spaces, their resonance, how as a recordist sounds are made, and how I listened differently through the act of recording whilst walking. I am interested in how the body and voice becomes part of the field recording, a self-surveillance of unconscious actions and improvised routine, and how these sounds can be used within a composition.

During the residency I have continued to make field recordings, my compositions drawing out patterns, tones and motifs from within situations. I began with the idea of recording at set times and places, to explore familiar open and closed spaces. I’ve noticed the increasing sound levels in busier city centre areas as lockdown restrictions lifted, and how the return of these sounds has affected me.

My podcast “What I leave Behind I Bring With Me” is a work in progress and a way of sharing some of the compositions using an alternative and freely accessible online platform, giving me the freedom to experiment with how I present my work. In the future I hope to develop the podcast series to share the work of other artists.

Photo: Adam Sloan

Into the Cave is a composition created from recordings made during and after lockdown. Podcast

This piece is an experiment in spatial perception combining recordings from two contrasting spaces, beginning with the journey I take everyday, walking down the stairs and hallway as I leave my flat. The recording has a sound quality I like for its familiarity, sounds taken for granted only revealed through the recording process itself. As the door opens to the outside, the piece transitions to recordings in a large cave, a calming space with unique elongated resonance and tones. I experimented with making sounds during the recording process, within the space, interacting with other sounds whilst capturing the cave’s natural resonance, noticing and reacting to the sounds and actions of other people in response to hearing the sounds being made within the space.

The Brick Sea Podcast

I am interested in how the sound of a place can inspire and make you feel, and how these sounds can be woven into a composition.

There is a vast area stretched along the Crosby coastline where the sea reveals the debris from buildings destroyed in The Blitz during the Second World War, remains of Liverpool’s city buildings and huge swathes of civilian housing, dumped along the shoreline as a coastal sea defence. Despite the tragic history of how the rubble came to be there, it is a beautiful place to walk, look, finding relics of the city destroyed – combinations of textures, bricks, walls, floors transformed by erosion of the tides.

I love the sound of the sea there. Exposed and unprotected from the elements, the experience is intensely layered. A mixture of seabirds overhead and flocks of starlings below. The sea forcing its way back into the land, waves exposing memories of grandeur in the rubble while simultaneously eroding, eventually washing it all away. Distant ships en route across the Port of Liverpool, to and from the Irish Sea.

Experimenting with the field recording process, the piece is built around improvising ideas using synths and programmed rhythms, played and recorded in-situ. The sounds, amplified through the body of the van I was sitting in using a surface transducer, combine with the natural wind and sea sounds. The result is quietly melancholic, like a lament to something lost, a turbulent sea-soundscape interspersed with synthesised tones evoking distant ship horns. Additional vocals inspired by these recordings were added later as another sonic layer.

For the final stage of my residency I plan to record using ambisonic techniques to create online spatial listening experiences.

What I Leave Behind I Bring With Me