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Saturday, July 12, 2014

jez riley french - 'a quiet position  |  (resonances) leigh woods'

digital download

leigh woods sits on the south bank of the avon gorge on the edges of bristol - one of those liminal spaces that we perceive according to our subjective ideals - a small piece of nature where we might find some calm, both in terms of sound and sensation. 

‘an english woodland is a place of contemplation, wherein ones most obvious companions are the birds, trees and ones preoccupations alone’ in fact, as the lens of field recording shows, there is a cacophony of sound that, closely observed, allows us to form a more rounded view of locale and our impact on it. In this way, when the question is asked ‘what is the sound of leigh woods ?’ the first responses could be birdsong, the rustle of leaves in the breeze, children playing and climbing etc. However, if a single sound dominates the woods it is the constant sound of traffic on the A4 below. Perhaps, as listening becomes a more diverse and enacted choice with a wider potential than mere hearing, we will begin to take stock of whether our understanding of nature and countryside is or ever was based on a stable reality. over the course of the year I visited leigh woods there seemed an invisible barrier between myself and the locale. Eventually I gathered around 40 recordings that represented various aspects of the woods and that communicated something of its position. A selection of these were used in a three sectioned commission exploring the contemporary and historical use of the woods. this release uses some of the field recordings to form the two ‘a quiet position’ pieces, which can be listened to anywhere, including as you sit in or walk through leigh woods, if you happen to visit. Also included are some of the individual recordings and a map showing the locations. 

commissioned by: National Trust / Trust New Art Bristol / MAYK