The sound/video installation-project ‘Eye Contact with the City’ (recipient of an Honorary Mention at PRIX Ars Electronica 2011) was the outcome of an artists’ residency in Bangalore in the autumn of 2010. The primary materials used in the installation were the field recordings made and video footage shot at various locations in Bangalore. Materials also included retrieved audio from old reel-to-reel tapes found at the city’s flea markets. The extensive repository of field recordings and other audio materials eventually took the form of this elegiac composition during a subsequent artists’ residency at the School of Music, Bangor University, in the summer-autumn of 2011.
The composition accommodates the passage of time that affects detachment, decay and departures in the perception of transfiguring acoustic geography of a city. Stemming out of intense phenomenological experience in an emerging Indian city and its complex sound world, the work represents a sonic construct that investigates the multi-layered listening processes at the city undergoing dynamic metamorphosis. Working on the assumption that passing of time over an once-inhabited but rapidly-emergent locale can be captured by employing a contemplative-poetic mood of elegiac pace in listening-methodology, this work explores indolence to facilitate meditative and in-depth observation involving a keen sense of temporality and spatial historicity that reshapes memory associations disconnected and erased during the course of time.
The primary material for the work was gathered in six months of extensive fieldwork. The audio composition took two more years to slowly take a final shape. The sounds that were gathered during the extensive field recording embody the imagery of amorphous urban development, exemplified by the enormous metro-rail constructions. The disruption occurs in an anticipation of idleness quite typical of Bangalore and similar to that of other Indian cities. Sounds retrieved and restored from found reel-to-reel tapes provide insights into this endangered idleness embedded within the essential urban nature. Apart from being mere sound information extracted from industrial environment of the construction sites, the field recordings are the impressions, reflections, and musings of a nomadic listener. They are inclusive of the phenomenological experience of expanded listening recontextualised in the composition that augments the imaginary outlines of the city by framing the impermanence of sounding urban growth. The strategy of composing has been digital-acoustic mediation of recognisable environmental sounds into auditory contexts; the aim is to evoke listener’s spatial association, cognition, and imagination of the city in the state of slow and gradual decomposition.
1 Track (elegy for Bangalore, 55’49”)
CD (500 copies)
Recorded and Produced by Budhaditya Chattopadhyay.
All sounds and texts by Budhaditya Chattopadhyay © 2013
Recorded on Sound Devices 702 with MS rig (MKH 60/30) between 2010-2011 at various locations in Bangalore city, India.
Mixed on AudioSculpt/Pro Tools HD/Cubase 6.5 in 2011-2013 respectively at Studio 4, School of Music, Bangor University, UK, and Listening LAB, Copenhagen, Denmark.
At various stages, this project has received financial and other support from Deutschlandradio, Berlin (broadcast); Charles Wallace India Trust, London (travel funds for production); India Foundation for the Arts, Bangalore (research & fieldwork).
Soundscape Series by Gruenrekorder
Germany / 2013 / Gruen 108 / LC 09488 / GEMA / EAN: 4050486084298
Hal Harmon | Musique Machine
Gruenrekorder presents Elegy For Bangalore, a full-length CD by Indian born (now Denmark-based) multi-media artist Budhaditya Chattopadhyay.
“Elegy for Bangalore” is a single epic track, clocking in at nearly 56 minutes. Apparently, this track is an expansion of a much shorter multi-media installation called “Eye Contact With the City.” As stated in the liner notes, this piece is a culmination of 6 months worth of extensive field recordings captured in Bangalore, India while Chattopadhyay was an artist in residency at the Bangor University School of Music in 2011. The primary focus of the piece is urban development, especially that surrounding the construction site(s) of a large scale metro-rail system. The sounds captured are further fleshed out by the addition of found reel-to-reel tapes purchased in local flea markets.
The sounds presented on this disc are what one might expect to find traversing a sprawling urban environment, though expertly captured and strewn together by Chattopadhyay. The track’s main components are: atmospheric drones, the sounds of workers toiling, metal being hauled and banged, churning industrial machinery; hammers, chisels, and other tool sounds; metal pipes ringing hollow, indescript voices, and traffic sounds. Throughout the piece a repetitive whistle sound appears and reappears. A bird perhaps or some sounds manipulated to create an effect? Some longer passages of industrial drone get really thick and booming later in the piece. Some parts almost have a musical aspect to them; the beating of metal creating a percussive beat, the ring of metal resonance howls like a brass instrument. Certain passages almost sound like an orchestra or jazz band warming up. The source material certainly lends itself to many possibilities for the fertile mind to meditate upon.
I could try to intellectualize the whole production, but ultimately for me it’s a snapshot in time, the highlighting of the mundane and unspectacular that I’m particularly attracted to. I will likely never go to India or visit Bangalore, but Chattopadhyay has created quite the vivid canvas for my imaginative mind to draw from. Another fine release from the good folks at Gruenrekorder.
NEHA MUJUMDAR | The Hindu
The album ‘Elegy To Bangalore’ captures the contemporary clatter of the city
There’s a lot more to Bengaluru’s Metro train route than breezy commuting; it could well be the perfect symbol of the city’s irrevocable change, as the sounds of sparrows become scarcer and traffic gets louder.
In ‘Elegy To Bangalore’, a recently released album of experimental sound by artist Budhaditya Chattopadhyay, the seemingly banal, often annoying sounds of Metro rail construction are transformed into an hour-long exploration of the city.
The work, excerpts of which are available online, uses sounds from the changing landscape of Bangalore — primarily, the construction of the Metro rail at sites such as Byappanahalli and Old Madras Road — that leave you intrigued. Various other sounds of the city — traffic, the hum of mobiles, the chirp of crickets — did catch Chattopadhyay’s attention, he said, but the focus seems to be on the sounds of the Metro, which he describes as an “industrial drone”.
So what makes the work an ‘elegy’, which typically is a lament for death? Chattopadhyay clarifies that he is not responding to a perceived ‘death’ as such, but rather trying to capture absences and slow disappearances of sounds from the city. “Bangalore seems to belong to the group of cities that believes in slowness,” he writes in an essay about his research process.
Chattopadhyay, born in Birbhum, West Bengal, went to Bangalore during his artist residency programmes. After two periods of research in 2010 and 2011, which Chattopadhyay spent exploring the city and searching for its characteristic sounds, he began to record.
Chattopadhyay, currently a research fellow at the University of Copenhagen, has other sound-based projects that have also focussed on the rapid changes occurring within both urban and rural India. For instance, Landscape In Metamorphoses tried to document the ongoing transformation of Tumbani from a village to one of the “busiest industrial belts of the Bengal-Bihar border”.
Holger Adam | testcard #23
Drei Veröffentlichungen vom Frankfurter Gruenrekorder-Label, jede versehen mit höheren akademischen Weihen und ebenso konzeptuell aufgeladen. Kopf-Hörer-Musik. An begleitenden Texten zu den Veröffentlichungen mangelt es folglich nicht, und es ist in der Tat gut zu wissen, was sich jeweils hinter dem, was man zu hören glaubt, verbirgt. Dabei sind, zumindest im Falle von David Rothenberg und Budhaditya Chattopa dhyay, bereits die Titel sehr sprechend: Rothenberg hat buchstäblich live im Feld mit allerlei Insekten Musik gemacht. Begleitend zur CD ist auch ein Buch erschienen: »How Insects Gave Us Rhythm And Noise« – und die Erfahrung einer beeindruckend mikrotonalen Klangumgebung hat vielleicht der eine oder die andere selbst schon gemacht: in der Wiese liegend, Grillen lauschend. Rothenberg hat die Klänge dieser und anderer Insekten eingefangen, sie als Musik hörbar kontextualisiert und um eigene Töne dazu ergänzt. Das Zusammenspiel der entomologischen Orchester mit den menschlichen Gastmusikern klingt zumeist abwechslungsreich und beein druckend, an der einen oder an deren Stelle spielen die Menschen etwas zu gefällig zum feingliedrigen Noise der Insekten – an den Tieren liegt es nicht! Budhaditya Chattopadhyays Eye Contact With The City ist das Pendant zu einer Video-/Klanginstallation, die Bilder und Sounds aus den Straßen Bangalores ausstellt. Nachbearbeitet erinnern die sphärisch verwehten Klänge allerdings nur noch entfernt, wie durch Fensterglas wahrgenommen, an die Geräusche einer Zehn-Millionen-Metropole. Ich nehme an, dass die Bilder zu den Klängen der Installation hier und da nicht zueinander passend präsentiert wurden, was den Verfremdungsefekt verstärken würde. Die Recordings auf Eye Contact With The City lassen zumindest keine eindeutige Zuordnung der Geräuschquellen mehr zu. Die Stadt als Klangkörper verschmilzt zu einer Industrial-Noise-Klangfläche, die dazu einlädt mit den Ohren erkundet zu werden. Wenn die Ohren nach den Insekten und der Stadt noch nicht müde sind, dann gibt es mit Mark Lorenz Kyse las Eins+ u. a. noch zu hören, wie der Musiker klingt, wenn er Musik macht. Mikrofone rücken Kysela, der auf diese Weise ein kompositorisches Konzept des Komponisten Christoph Ogiermann realisiert, so sehr auf die Pelle, dass nicht nur das Instrument und die Klänge die es erzeugt, gehört werden können, sondern auch der sich mit dem Instrument bewegende Körper des Musikers. Insgesamt steht der physische Akt des Musikmachens im Zentrum, nicht so sehr das damit einhergehende klang liche Ergebnis. Dieser Logik, nach Klängen diszipliniert unter verschiedenen Bedingungen und nach Maßgabe aller vorhandenen Möglichkeiten der Instrumente zu forschen, ohne ein Klangerlebnis im Sinne einer »schönen Musik« zu beabsichtigen, folgt Eins+ über 70 Minuten lang, in denen Kysela noch fünf weitere Kompositionen von Alvin Lucier, Uwe Rasch und drei weiteren Vertretern Neuer Musik realisiert. Eine Herausforderung, Meta-Musik zu der man das beiliegende Textbuch studieren muss, um eine erweiterte Vorstellung davon zu erhalten, was es jeweils zu hören gibt. Keine Musik für jeden Tag, aber das ist auch sicher mit keiner der drei Veröffentlichungen beabsichtigt.
Dmitry Vasilyev | The Sound Projector
Oh yes, the Gruenrekorder label turns 10 this year, and through this decade it gains the deserved reputation as one of the finest European labels dealing with field recordings and electronic music utilising field recordings. Operated by German sound-artists Lasse-Marc Riek and Roland Etzin, Gruenrekorder has released over 130 albums up to this moment, and most of them are highly interesting for all of you phonography lovers. All these releases are on digital format (CD, CDr or downloads), so you can expect outstanding recording quality with each new release, but also very special aesthetics of listening to the world surrounding us, and wonder how musical these ordinary sounds from everyday life can be. One of the most recent outings is the new album by Budhaditya Chattopadhyay – sound artist, audiovisual media practitioner and researcher from India who currently based in Copenhagen, Denmark. Based on the field recordings made in Bangalore (the capital city of the Indian state of Karnataka), it became a sound/video installation-project involving the audio from old reel-to-reel tapes found at the city’s flea markets. What really differentiates this work from other published field recordings is the narrative quality of music, which flows continuously for about one hour, forming the massive soundwalk without any certain direction, guiding us only by some strange crash/squeak-like sounds and distorted voices. There’s also a bit of processing over there, but not in a soundscape manner, just to sustain certain sounds and create a sort of hypnotic alignment. If you have heard the Buildings New York album by Francisco López, you will feel some similarity in structure. At times the soundflow receives a very ambient-like sonority, ending again with strange Eastern harmonisation and a definitive musique concrete quality. So you see, the music here is something that’s always changing but with no overall progress, just like a state of mind. Interesting album, not to miss out if you like to travel in your armchair.
Ian Holloway | Wonderful Wooden Reasons
One track of 56 minutes entitled ‚Elegy for Bangalore‘ makes up this here album from Gruenrekorder and it’s another, in a very long line of, absolute corker.
At it’s core is a piece made for a sound / video installation of the same name which has subsequently been expanded from it’s 10 minute runtime into this much longer and more detailed version.
The recordings are, at their core, a phonology of the city of Bangalore with particular interest in those areas currently being redeveloped. To this has been added sounds from salvaged reel-to-reel tapes.
The end result is an intriguing, if often slightly lethargic soundscape that evokes an almost palpable sense of post-industrial ennui amidst it’s desolate crashes, thumps and constant background babble.
I get sent a lot of processed field recordings here at WWR. They’ve been kinda de rigeur for the last little while particularly those of the stream and bird variety. I don’t get anywhere near as many that have the urban sprawl at their genesis and that’s a shame because they are usually very interesting and this is no exception.
Maria Papadalomanaki | The Field Reporter
Birthed out of an art residency in Bangalore in the autumn of 2010, Elegy for Bangalore is another incarnation of Budhaditya Chattopadhyay’ s engagement with emerging urban environments in India. Departing from a sound/video installation entitled Eye Contact With The City (2011, Honorable Mention, Prix Ars Electronica), the 55:49 minutes of the work dwell on the concept of a meditative and in-depth observation … that reshapes memory associations disconnected and erased during the course of time as Chattopadhyay explains. A vast and extensive pool of materials was built in a period of six months while the piece took its final form during a subsequent artists’ residency at the School of Music, Bangor University, in the summer-autumn of 2011. A constituent element for accessing this particular work is “expanded” listening. Not only because of its durational nature but also due to the artist’s deliberate stratification and framing of the piece. In Elegy for Bangalore the theme of a construction site permutates endlessly in a contemplative-poetic mood of elegiac pace. And that is according to Budhaditya Chattopadhyay more than a compositional strategy, it is in fact a multi-layered listening methodology, necessary to accomplish the in-depth perception of the spatiotemporal implications of the city in metamorphosis.
And is indeed this notion of change manifested in terms of presence and absence, distance and proximity that can be also found in other works of Budhaditya. It is by no means an accident that the artist makes use of the words meditative, poetic and elegiac when referring to the sincere intentions of this work. With a background in film-sound studies and a keen interest in the textural properties sound and the detailed framing of a locale, Budhaditya Chattopadhyay manages to create an immersive experience that to him does not limit itself in what could perhaps be called a field-recording composition. In an interview for the publication entitled In the Field, Budhaditya sites that his involvement with sound is more informed by works of Tarkovsky, Lygeti or Bach than the obvious references to Francisco López or Chris Watson. The sounds in Elegy for Bangalore explore the memory of a place, the interplay between “frozen history zones” captured in discarded spools of tape and sites of urban growth, audibility and inaudibility, musicality and spatial historicity.
Amidst the surrounding surgical frequencies of the machinery, the urban skin and bones being repurposed and the resampled tapes found in flea markets, one can find the intent to meditate on and to investigate the amorphous urban development that certifies uniformity and grading of roots and memories. Beyond the conventions of the listening “I” tied to sound art, this work offers a cinematic walk through the different alleys, neighbourhoods, voices and lives of Bangalore at the moment of being crushed by machines, vehicles, grinding saws, workers at enormous metro-rail construction sites. At times through a ground-level mise-en-scène and at times from a solar position, the work observes, detached from what’s taking place. Slowness and indolence are key points for listening to this work. We gradually immerse in our journey through the city, we focus on its echoing details in long exposure, experiencing its heavy breathing, layer after layer, in a state of slow and gradual decomposition. The field recordings, one of the three layers composing the work, are, to Chattopadhyay’ s words, intensive and inclusive of the phenomenological experience of listening and recording at various locations in the city. The industrial drones form the quintessential continuo and the repurposed tapes provide insight to the city’s auditory legacy and endangered idleness. If anything, Elegy for Bangalore offers a beautiful reflection on a city that can only be imagined. More than an elegy, the work evokes a watchful solar eye (and ear), looking (and listening) over the bigger scheme where urban growth supersedes the natural and the collective. Yet, although the sun can be easily hidden it can hardly be drilled or cemented.
* from installation ‘Eye contact with the city’
Glen Hall | Exclaim!
Finding sounds in the underground construction sites of a metro rail line in Bangalore, India, and in old reel-to-reel tapes in the city’s flea market, Budhaditya Chattopadhyay constructs a sonic meditation on the transformation of a city. He listens for those moments when the sounds that surround become those that transport to enhanced awareness. Metal being dropped in a tunnel has an eerie delay and decay; construction machinery vibrates, grinds, growls and fades; while Hammer and chisel hit concrete, indistinct voices call out, car horns beep, diesel engines thrum and rhythmic patterns coalesce and dissolve. The stuff of „sound life“ is given a stage upon which they can act on the mind/quiet of the attentive listener. The construction sounds are now, but the reel-to-reel materials are the city’s past reappearing and being re-integrated, akin to how a photographer can incorporate an old photo into a present-day scene. Eye Contact With The City is a soundscape composition that explores urban growth and history with a cinematic sensibility and an architectural feeling for space and duration.
Guillaume Belhomme | Le son du grisli
Avec un entrain comparable à celui d’Akio Suzuki lorsqu’il nous entretenait jadis de l’état du trafic du New Taiza Tunnel, Budhaditya Chattopadhyay composa Eye Contact with The City, installation audiovisuelle jouant des rumeurs – celle des transports du sud de l’Inde, première de toutes sur Elegy for Bangalore.
C’est un embouteillage monstre que Chattopadhyay organise : collages, boucles et superpositions, de field recordings (chahut de la foule ou tapage d’ouvriers sur chantier, toutes sonorités modifiées souvent mais reconnaissables encore) subtilement appliqués aux codes de la musique indienne. La trame de l’enregistrement accueille en conséquence des couleurs multiples que perce et explore en tous sens un fil rouge : bourdon provoqué par l’étirement d’une musique tentée sans cesse par la disparition. S’il est fait d’instants saisissants et de longueurs aussi, c’est qu’Eye Contact with The City respecte l’impératif d’un quotidien fabuleux.
freiStil – Magazin für Musik und Umgebung
Mit der zehnminütigen Sound/Video-Installation Eye Contact with the City errang Budhaditya Chattopadhyay eine lobende Erwähnung beim Linzer Ars Electronica-Festival. Auf fast eine Stunde erstreckt sich die Elegy for Bangalore, ein auf field recordings basierendes, elektronisch verarbeitetes Stück, das auch als Gedächtnis einer Stadt bzw. der Region um sie herum verstanden werden kann. Also auch als Archiv der Geräuschkulisse der drittgrößten Stadt Indiens. Mit Fortdauer der CD erschließt sich einerseits, warum Chattopadhyay mit der verknappten, präzisierten Version am oberösterreichischen Wettbewerb teilnahm, und andererseits der Vorzug der epischen Qualität dieser Arbeit, mit der man freilich bei eher sportlich angelegten Festivals keinen Blumentopf gewinnen kann. Eine akustische Fernreise wie diese erfordert vielmehr Geduld und Hingabe. (felix)
Budhaditya Chattopadhyay | elegy for Bangalore @ Neue Zeitschrift für Musik 03/2013
Sabine Breitsameter: Die Globalisierung der urbanen Klanglandschaft. Zur Aktualität von R. Murray Schafers Akustischer Ökologie
Guillermo Escudero | Loop
Budhaditya Chattopadhyay was born in Birbhum, India where he studied cinema specializing in audiography. In addition to film he workes on field recordings and experimental music.
‚Eye Contact with the City‘ is an audiovisual installation which won in 2011 the Honorable Mention at Prix Ars Electronica which is held every year in Austria. This work was the result of a residence in Bangalore, India in the fall of 2010.
‚Elegy for Bangalore‘ is a set of sounds that come from buolding work, traffic sounds, drills, workers talking loud, classical Indian, some of which are found in its pure state while others are processed.
It’s interesting to hear the sounds that have reverb and echoes, transforming and displaying their original sound to different textures and timbres, delivering new shades to new soundscapes.
Interview | By Guillermo Escudero | Loop
Budhaditya Chattopadhyay was born in Birbhum, India, where he studied cinema specializing in Audiography at the National Film School-SRFTI and then studied Master of Arts in New Media with a dissertation in Sound-Art from Aarhus University in Denmark. Chattopadhyay works in the fields of film, digital media and sound art in which he incorporates audio, video and text generating a wide range of sound-based artworks for exhibition, publication, installation and live performance‘. […]
Idwal Fisher | IDWAL FISHER
[…] Budhaditya Chattopadhyay’s ‘elegy to Bangalore’ is a single 55 minute composition thats a monotonous ride mixing the dull roar of building work, city traffic, pneumatic drills [them again] the agitated chatter of site foremen, grinders at work, traditional Indian classical music, [that’ll be the sounds culled from reel-to-reel tapes found in the city’s flea market] … you get the idea … in an attempt to convey the rapid urban growth of Bangalore. In one huge solid lump that I found difficult to digest.
The entire composition appears as if through a cotton wool filter, car horns appear out of audible fog like dying sea mammals stranded on the Arabian seashore, scaffolding clangs to ground in a muffled thud, clarity there is none. Things finally get interesting around the 40 minute mark when pneumatic drills [them again] get phased through some kind of filter making for a slightly woozy I’ve-had-five-pints-too-many feel. An unintentional drug type trip maybe but I’m glad it was there all the same.
Maybe my listening facilities are out of whack here. Maybe I’ve been listening to to many pneumatic drills of late? Eye Contact With The City was the recipient of an honorable mention at the 2011 PRIX Ars Electronica fest so what the fuck do I know?
Perhaps Dave Wallace will be more digestible?
A ten-minute sound/video installation-project that was the recipient of an Honourary Mention at PRIX Ars Electronica 2011, Budhaditya Chattopadhyay’s Eye Contact with the City is newly represented by the much longer piece that evolved out of it called “Elegy for Bangalore.” For the fifty-six-minute work, Chattopadhyay gathered source material during six months of extensive fieldwork in 2010 and 2011 at various locations in Bangalore, India as well as from old reel-to-reel tapes found at the city’s flea markets. The result, two years in the making, is no bucolic portrait, but rather a piece that largely concentrates on the industrial sounds of urban development—the myriad noises generated by machines, vehicles, grinding saws, workers, and the like at enormous metro-rail construction sites—resulting in a sound portrait of a “city undergoing dynamic metamorphosis.”
Musical elements do sometimes work their way into the piece but do so almost subliminally, such that the presence of a bowed string instrument, for example, becomes merely one element within a large, complex mosaic—the point being, presumably, to emphasize how fragile such natural, humanizing sounds are when urban development gets underway with such inexorable force. As Chattopadhyay himself states, “The construction sites ceaselessly upset the city, disturbing not only its natural urban landscape but also the city’s collective memory, which is intruded on by sounds from the rapid and amorphous urban development.” His notes also help clarify the work’s multi-layered structure: its primary layer is the industrial drone, the second is the flea market content that symbolizes the locale’s vulnerable history, and the third is the city of Bangalore itself as captured in the rumble of traffic and vibrations of buildings.
To Chattopadhyay’s credit, the work isn’t one-dimensional, even if its sound elements remain largely unchanging from start to finish, as modulations in dynamics do occur, with the sound mass in some sections amplified in intensity and in others more subdued, almost as if the work site is receding into the distance as one drives away from it. Some degree of subtle sound manipulation also seems to be in play, with hammering noises, for instance, resounding at times in a stutter-like manner (though, admittedly, the effect could simply be the result of natural echo). Regardless, the work proves to be an engaging exercise in site-specific phonography, and the relentlessness with which its industrial elements sound clearly conveys the work’s theme.
Jack Chuter | ATTN:Magazine
The result of an artist’s residency in Bangalore, and an accompaniment piece to the audio-visual installation work, Eye Contact With The City.
While Elegy For Bangalore centres on an unmistakable drone of petrol combustion, bustling people and building site whirr, Chattopadhyay’s sonic representation of India’s emerging urban developments sounds warped. Somehow the environment is both distant and enveloping, manifesting a both a 360-degree immersion and an intangible snow globe of sound; claustrophobia jeers from the horizon, as buildings and vehicles refract into disorientating overlaps of past and present tense, folding over themselves as shadows of reverb and delay. Much of the source material will be familiar to those regularly engaged with urban life: fracturing jackhammers, blurs of simultaneous flea market conversation, tannoy system slap-back, the throbbing chorus of traffic noise.
Yet the treatment of these events projects them onto the borders of the surreal, tapping into both rhythms and melodic content that feels too deliberate and calculated to spawn entirely from urban life’s collision of chance and accident. Musicality haunts the piece like a ghost, thickening into explicit tonal hums that lurk beneath the city’s churn like bass frequency sewer works, or dripping over the din as whining drones that could be gigantic birds or dying aeroplanes. Little clangs of metal and car horns are twisted into communicative rhythmic patterns, while a ping-pong delay picks up protrusive sonic debris and ricochets it off the invisible stereo walls.
Far from an objective document of Bangalore’s urban uprising, Elegy For Bangalore is a shadow cast in the wake of the city’s formerly idle persona; a lens converged by past experience and present belief. A notable fact is that much of the field recording took six months to compile and a further two years to materialise as a composition. Yet for all its unrealism, the soundscape feels nonetheless fluid and eternally present – rather than alluding to its previous existence as several scattered fragments of audio, Elegy For Bangalore is like the immortal capital city of a parallel realm, beautifully convincing even in its contorted form.
Julien Héraud | improv sphere
Avec Eye contact with the city, le label Gruenrekorder revient à une forme musicale plus habituelle, le field-recordings et les installations sonores et/ou musicales qui s’en revendiquent. C’est le deuxième album que Budhaditya Chattapadhyay publie pour ce label, un album tiré d’une d’une installation sonore et vidéo.
L’artiste sonore indien propose ici une version longue d’une pièce basée sur des enregistrements effectués sur des sites de construction en milieu métropolitain (à Bangalore, dans le sud de l’Inde), à l’intérieur d’une ligne de métro en travaux, ainsi que sur des cassettes trouvées sur les marchés attenants. Il s’agit d’une seule pièce intitulée „elegy for bangalore“, une longue pièce divisée en deux parties d’une vingtaine de minutes chacune. Une première partie proche du drone et de l’ambient, où les enregistrements semblent étirés et ralentis pour former une ambiance fantomatique, spectrale, aux résonances étranges et plutôt sombres. Une ambiance abstraite formée par les résonances du trafic routier dans la ligne de métro, pour des musiques déformées, et par l’atmosphère souterraine du lieu d’enregistrement. Puis dans la seconde partie, tout prend une tournure plus concrète. Les sources deviennent facilement identifiables, des sonorités industrielles apparaissent (bruits de tôle, marteaux, engins de gros œuvre, etc.), des boucles et des apparitions de musique populaire et carnatiques surgissent, les voitures et leurs klaxons se font entendre, ainsi que différentes voix. Toute la métropole surgit des profondeurs sombres et infernales du souterrain, une métropole grouillante, où se côtoient une modernité en construction et un folklore en déconstruction.
Une pièce construite avec sensibilité et intelligence qui propose une immersion dans le son puis dans le réel. Des enregistrements panoramiques qui reproduisent un environnement très vaste envers et contre l’aspect claustrophobe de la source sonore. Très bon travail.
Frans de Waard | VITAL WEEKLY
If I understood things correctly, then this fifty-five minute audio work is some sort of off-shoot of a ten minute sound/video installation of the same name. Budhaditya Chattopadhyay uses recordings from ‚various underground construction sites‘ in Bangalore (India) in that piece, but also ‚retrieved audio from old reel-to-reel tapes found at the city’s flea market‘. These sounds are now also extended to a fifty-five minute sound piece which is to be found on this CD. Apparently there is a lot of building going on in Bangalore, a new quite extended metro rail construction, which changes the city. Chattopadhyay seems to be taken a political standpoint: ‚this disruption occurs in anticipation of idleness quite typical of Bangalore and similar to that of other Indian cities‘ – any big, modern city probably, I’d like to add, and maybe of the reasons I’d like to stay away from big, modern cities? I haven’t been to India, so I am not sure if what I hear is indeed an ‚accurate‘ sound picture of the city and wether the tapes really give an idea of the ‚old‘ Bangalore. Or, actually, which is which here. It’s now separated in time and space from the subject of Bangalore and may very well be regarded as a piece of music by itself. I must say I quite enjoyed this as a piece of music by itself. It’s a curious but interesting combination of industrial sounds, the actual construction sites, people talking, and blending all of that with some sort of strange drone like sounds, street sounds and more human activities. A fascinating journey if you will trough the life in a big city. Maybe Chattopadhyay uses a bit of sound processing, but it’s not a lot (or so it seems to me). If you like say Justin Bennett’s work, dealing with city sounds in a more conceptual way, then this is surely something to check out. (FdW)