Desert & Crummock : Stephen Shiell [PAST]

Sound Exhibition :

2 September 2022 Friday 5-8pm

3 & 4 September Saturday & Sunday 2:30 – 6:30pm

Running time : 28 minutes. Free Entry

This is one of the four exhibitions of work and artists selected from DIVFUSE Sound Archive No. 3 – an Open Call for pieces that are based on field recordings. We are pleased that this round of the Open Call is funded by the Arts Council England and the work was jointly selected between Project DIVFUSE and sound artist and tutor Jose Macabra.

Desert (2019) – from the album ’Sonance’, released on Linear Obsessional recordings

Natural radio in a desert that goes on forever
obsidian chimes under the earth
life waiting under the salt

Natural radio field recordings made in the Black Rock Desert, Nevada using a very low frequency receiver constructed by Stephen P McGreavy, and a self-created magnetic loop aerial. Additional studio recordings by Stephen Shiell: Obsidian needle chimes – mined in Nevada and well known for their musical quality.

Voice by Hannah White is inspired by the story of the fairy shrimps, whose eggs lie encased in the dry playa soil of alkali flats until the rains come, flooding the desert and prompting the eggs to hatch, grow and reproduce.

Crummock 2019 – from the album ‘Kyem’, released on Industrial Coast

At Crummock water, in the Lake District , a contact mic receives the breeze, vibrating harp strings. Omni-directional mics filter the drone of the wind through a chimney, and a hydrophone hears rushing water and a bell, struck and submerged.

Stephen Shiell is a sound artist, performer and composer. He works with field recordings, found objects and self created instruments. Shiell enjoys the confluence of sound and matter to describe his memories of place and likes working with ‘hidden’ sounds, using very low frequency receivers, electromagnetic microphones, contact mics and hydrophones to explore the sounds outside of human hearing. His past compositions have used recordings of machinery and technology, exploring these for their rhythmic and melodic qualities, and subjecting them to analogue and digital processes. In more recent years, Shiell has become interested in the raw qualities of un-treated field recordings, overdubbed with voice and sounds from objects that often have been found in, or relate to the place where the field recording was made.

Photos by Hannah White