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Although not entirely apparent, field recording plays an important role in my work. Either in the form of acoustic inspiration or the subtle inclusion in a textured track. At this time of year ice flows work their way down the Detroit river, a constant zeotrope of frozen water. The sound of the massive sheets of ice colliding creates a perpetual cacophony of textures. After hearing Marie Guilleray's work and understanding that location played a substantial part in her piece, it seemed only logical to pursue a recording that reflected the dissimilarity/similarity between Detroit and Venice.

Once I had captured the sounds from the river I walked into the city in the early evening when most activity ceases for the day and people who inhabit the downtown during work hours vacate and head back to the suburbs. The city becomes a vacant colossus of architecture and concrete. I recorded a few sounds in my short trek all of which were filled with hollow sounding textures with occasional traffic noise. Emulating the pulsing din of a dormant city, I produced a series of frequency modulated sine waves that slowly build gaining in volume and harmonics until they break and recede leaving only the sounds of the river remaining. 

Both Detroit and Venice exist due to their proximity to water but their similarities end there. Unlike Venice's labyrinth of streets, Detroit's downtown is a city that was clearly planned out from it's inception. Streets extend in concentric circles from the city center and there is far less activity or chance for variation. The final recording attempts to replicate both the arch of daily activity and the toneless quality of urban noise. 

Christopher Bissonnette/ February 2012



Christopher Bissonnette is a Canadian musician/sound artist/designer living and working in the Detroit/Windsor area. He has released two full-length albums for the Chicago based label Kranky and more recently a collaborative recording with David Wenngren (Library Tapes) on Home Normal. Bissonnette is also a founding member of Thinkbox, a project-based collective that has explored art, sound and video in a variety of contexts ranging from art galleries to music venues.