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Stage one of becoming a sound artist involves owning a number of Tibetan music CDs, some way of sampling it, some funny drums (are gamelans drums, the people who hit them or the twats who come to watch them?) and a way of putting an echo on the whole thing so it sounds like it's being played in a church.
Stage two is the pictures to go with it. Here you could a) team up with a visual artist or b) do it yourself.
And this pretty much sums up the worst aspects of the Hayward show Sonic Boom - the Art of Sound (27 April - 18 June): eerie sounds, synthesiser and slow bells, an eastern spiritual feel and abstract video projections of water and other mystical stuff. Having said all that, Sonic Boom, curated by the NME generation's equivalent of renaissance man David Toop, is actually an excellent show held together by a half dozen outstanding pieces.
Lee Ranaldo's HWY SONG, a beat up acoustic guitar with a video monitor placed in the round hole behind the strings (whatever that's called) and a series of silent images shot along a highway, tinted red is hugely evocative of the romance of being "On the Road".
On the guitar and Americana theme GUITAR DRAG by Christian Marclay is a short video piece. An electric guitar is tied on a rope behind a Chrysler pick-up while plugged into an amp and speaker on the back of the truck. Then they drive around some Texan back roads while the guitar makes its pleading cacophony. For a conceptual video piece GUITAR DRAG is also remarkable for the fact that it's well shot and has also been edited(!). It made me think of the US rock guitar hero versus the darker side of southern life where people get dragged around behind cars by fuck-head rednecks.
Christina Kubisch's OASIS 2000: MUSIC FOR THE CONCRETE JUNGLE is specially designed for the Hayward's sculpture space at the top of the building. It's where Panamerenko's unworkable submarine was a few shows ago. As you leave the inside you get a pair of specially adapted head phones. Lines of electromagnetic cables are stretched across the courtyard and as you walk around you hear a different combination of sounds depending on where you're standing. All the sounds are recorded from nature (a rainforest, babbling brooks, african animals) albeit a far flung nature that most Londoners haven't experienced. The audio idyll is set against a visual backdrop of the Millennium wheel, the concrete of the South Bank and the symbols of state and government and our crummy elected representatives.
OFF THE RECORD by Philip Jeck is a huge amount of old dansettes and record players on timers playing the same records or parts of records over and over again. The players are beaten up, past their sell by date, thrown out for Hi-Fis and then CD decks. The records themselves seem to have come from the same markets and car-boot sales with Phobe Snow well represented. It's deeply impressive because it's overwhelmingly about the physicality involved in making noise and music but it's done seemingly without human presence.
The final piece worth mentioning is Scanner and Katrina Matiasek's THE COLLECTOR.
SONIC BOOM: THE ART OF SOUND (Hayward Gallery, South Bank, London 27 April-18 June 2000) - you missed it.
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