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Human Fiction Tartini sound-works featuring “National Grid” by Disinformation

October 23, 2013

Evanescent Continents

Evanescent Continents is a sound project by artists Mika Hayashi Ebbesen and Chris Wood, who remixed audio provided by several contributors for a listening event at X Marks the Bökship, in London on 17 Oct 2013. The event featured “Four Dreams” by Chris Wood and “Troll” by Mikatsiu, both including (the former more prominently) sounds from the “National Grid” sound artwork by Disinformation (although, owing to an error on my part, the poster – above – attributes the contribution to Joe Banks, instead of the preferred form of attributing to Disinformation).

The resonant frequency of mains Alternating Current is 50Hz, while the lowest “G” on the piano keyboard resonates at 49Hz. The “National Grid” sound artwork involves intercepting the 50Hz signal from live mains AC, then using electric guitar pedals to re-tune and re-combine the 50Hz fundamental with (depending on the tuning) for example 49Hz or 51Hz variants etc, producing the audio equivalent of visual moiré patterns, which transform the smoothly continuous low drone radiated by the city’s electrical infrastructure into a deeply musical, rhythmically pulsing sound mass (a similar tuning technique is referred to in classical music as “Tartini tuning”). “National Grid” was first performed live and published on LP in 1996, first exhibited as a gallery installation in London in 1997, and has been widely performed and exhibited ever since. See earlier posts for a discussion about relationships between electromagnetic sound art and issues of perception.

Both remixes are available to listen to on-line here…

The contributors to this Evanescent Continents project were A6/2 Generator, Saul Albert, Carlos Azdi, Joe Banks, Peter Barnard, Alan Courtis, Francesco Generali, Dimitar Inchev, Haydeé Jimenez, Constantine Katsiris, Chris Mann, Shabsi Mann, Manoli Moriarty, Alyssa Moxley, David Rogers, Nina Sarnelle. Syma Tariq, Thomas Francis Walsh, Muffin Wood and Takeaki Yamazaki. Thanks to Mika and Chris!

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