While eating my lunch today, I read a piece by Jean Sprackland that mentioned something about the aurochs. Julius Caesar, in “The Gallic Wars,” described the aurochs–a member of the wild cattle family–as smaller than an elephant, resembling a bull, and 2 meters tall at the shoulder. It was hunted to extinction by the end of the Bronze Age. Some hoofprints of the aurochs and other animals, and humans, have been found on the coast near Blackpool, UK. It’s really intriguing: the footprints this woman is finding on her walks–she’s been walking the beach for 20 years–are washed away, or destroyed, pretty much as soon as they appear because of the tide. Something called ephemeral archaelogy. I was thinking of frescos, the new paint covering the old paint, but that’s more like palimpsest. But how would ephemeral archaelogy as a concept work in sound? Or could I make sound in a distinctive way that came close to that idea. I suppose some abbreviated minimalist music has that effect. But it’d be challenging to make things appear and disappear aurally, and have a cohesive piece.
And while it’s true that music is ephemeral, I’m visualizing, translating the effect of the Blackpool waves on the prints into abstract sound. Seeing/hearing a bed of sound (the earth) with patterns of other sounds appearing and disappearing, forming themselves gradually, then disappearing the same way, or maybe some of them pretty much instantly. They could be textures of instrumental sound, or vocal sound, but Will suggested birdsong and natural sounds. I’ve always liked the idea of found sound, and have wished numerous times that I had a recorder on my walks in the woods up in MA. Archive would be useful in such a piece.