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Shadow Machine: The Granaries
A generative audio stream by Absolute Value of Noise © 2014.
For REuseCity on radioCona in Ljubljana, curated by Anna Friz.

The sounds for this piece were recorded at the Granaries at the foot of Campbell Avenue at 2:30 am, January 13th, 1990. The Granaries at that time were an open structure of silos - two rows of five silos per side, with a rectangular cement super structure up top moulded around the silos and looking like some dilapidated, abandoned, post apocalyptic hotel. The sound in that place was intense - the hiss of air-valves releasing pressure from pneumatic systems, the ground trembling with the motion of huge conveyor belts, and the higher pitched buzzing of noisy sodium lamps. Around everything was a cloud of sea gulls swooping and fighting over the spillage. It was like stepping into another world. It was part of the night-scape of the city, but it also seemed miles away from civilization with no housing, or shops, or human-scale buildings anywhere nearby.

I took the sounds from the original recording and built them into a generative audio piece for the Shadow Machine - an interdisciplinary dance piece featuring Alvin Erasga Tolentino, Ken Gregory, Carol Sawyer, and myself. Shadow Machine was originally produced in 2000, and was restaged as a larger production in 2010.

When Anna Friz asked me to do a four hour late-night radio piece based on the urban soundscape, I thought that these sounds would be ideal. In a sense, they exist both inside and outside the city at the same time, and they bring a ghostly feeling to the night-time airwaves. The piece was remade for the radio broadcast on radioCona late-night January 18, 2014. It was aired a second time on radioCona:Winter FM, February 19, 2015.


Shadow Machine: The Granaries (excerpt).

I was cycling along the new overpass behind the ports a few days ago (February 2015) and noticed that the old granaries were completely gone. All that's left is the warf and a few old train tracks.



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