Tracing Beijing (2017)

Tracing Beijing (2017): soundscape/electroacoustic composition

A soundscape-based electroacoustic composition available in stereo and 8-channel versions, based on field recordings from a 3-month stay in Beijing during spring 2015. ‘Tracing’ Beijing was premiered at Sounding Out the Space, Dublin, Nov 4th, 2017, and has since been presented at Lüneberg New Music Week (2019) and the New York City Electroacoustic Music Festival (2020).  

‘My first attempts to trace Beijing came during disorientating hour-long taxi journeys past identical-looking blocks looming out of the smog. Beijing in winter is a dark pencil sketch of indistinct outlines, evocative in its impressionistic abstraction…But as spring came and my ears opened, a new kind of tracing ensued. Now it was the mystery of where meaning was centered; in the polyphonic society of narrow hutong laneways, in the constant construction remodeling the city, in the authoritative American and British accents of automated subway announcements, in the park where elderly traditional musicians, survivors of the Cultural Revolution, coexist with Red Guards nostalgic for the collective gestures and music of their youth…Meanings found in the collision of all-night bars, white picket–fence barriers and lively conversations on surveilled social networks. And all the while, the spring and the smog duel for supremacy, and the city still sprawls and shifts in and out of focus…’