Echo Locution: Aural / Environment / Body / Poetics - Part 1 / by James belflower

At the Disembodied Poetics Conference: Writing/Thinking/Being at Naropa University, in October, 2014 David James Miller, Maryam Parhizkar, and myself discussed the influence of music on our critical and creative writing practices in a panel titled "Echo Locution: Aural / Environment / Body / Poetics." The conversation afterward was very rewarding and there were many questions about the various textual and musical sources referenced. To say thanks, and to keep that conversation going, we've posted a brief summary of our talks and a list of resources from our papers. This is the first of three parts. We hope you enjoy!

To Know Noise Is to Know Another: Luc Ferrari's Sound Newspaper Far West News

James Belflower

The Italian-born French composer Luc Ferrari was pivotal in the musique concrète scene emerging in Postwar France, which was characterized by the use of found sound, tape manipulations, and extended instrumentation. From one of his first found sound experiments in Danse Organiques (1971-73), which recorded two women making love, to his extended aural travelogue of he and his wife’s tour through the Southwest in the late 1990s, Far West News (1998-99), Ferrari provocatively pulled intimate noise into an historical period where abstract methods of music composition dominated the European and American scenes. In Far West News, Ferrari employs found sound, minimalist editing, and a variety of innovative compositional techniques to create a Sound Newspaper, a haunting "ambiguous realism" composed from recordings of his sightseeing tours, conversations, and ambient audio during their trip. Contrary to the alienation noise typically provokes, Far West News suggests that an encounter with noise is instead a form of communication rich with intimacy. Ferrari's meticulous, sensitive, and hands-on approach to collecting and composing with found sound demonstrates that when we consider noise as deeply relational it allows us to practice non-referential and comparitivist approaches to reality through our senses. Ultimately, noisy encounters encourage us to understand how resonances of all varieties inflect materiality by engendering sonic affinities between human and non-human players in what Ferrari called the "dialectics of the everyday."