Intercession
SETH COOKE
IHab065

“Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.”
-Romans 8:26

Composed of recordings made - with permission - in and around West Yorkshire Police Headquarters; in the telephony equipment rooms; electronic alarm sounds; mobile phone interference; and various other drone phenomena - all sounds produced by the equipment that
mediates emergency calls and other requests for aid. This is the sound of the devices that
intercede for us and the machines that help maintain them, not the emergency calls themselves.
No restricted or sensitive information or money gained from taxation was used in creating this
composition.
-Seth Cooke

“Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one
another's speech.”
-Genesis 11:7


01. Intercession (20:57) 243Mb DOWNLOAD

00. Artwork (ZIP) 1,76Mb DOWNLOAD
00. Complete package (Artwork + Mp3 Sound files) (ZIP) 41,8Mb DOWNLOAD
00. Complete package (Artwork + FLAC Sound files) (ZIP) 244Mb DOWNLOAD

Reviews:

From the artist’s online notes:

“Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.”
-Romans 8:26

Composed of recordings made – with permission – in and around West Yorkshire Police Headquarters; in the telephony equipment rooms; electronic alarm sounds; mobile phone interference; and various other drone phenomena – all sounds produced by the equipment that mediates emergency calls and other requests for aid. This is the sound of the devices that intercede for us and the machines that help maintain them, not the emergency calls themselves. No restricted or sensitive information or money gained from taxation was used in creating this composition.
-Seth Cooke

“Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech.”
-Genesis 11:7

The quotations are interesting because any text, sacred or secular, despite what the high priests will tell you, is open to numerous interpretations. And of course a good verse or two from the Bible affordsgravitas. Biblical exegesis then takes us to literary interpretation, theory and critique which takes us on to the narrativity of this type of sound work and how we might begin to interpret what we’re listening to.

Obviously you have to listen to the work rather than read what I have to say about it, but it’s an intriguing piece and not difficult listening in terms of what unfolds – these are recordings of machines after all, from the sound of them relatively unprocessed. And there’s a fine flexible concept behind the work which offers numerous possibilities for developing the work and relating it to other media and communicative structures.

What is interesting here, and this stands for almost all of the work that goes under the name ‘field recording’ nowadays, is less what the artists did to make the work and the concept behind it, though this is essential in my view*, and more what you’re going to do with it at the other end – esthesis over poiesis. Listening to field recordings on a cd can be demanding. A work like Intercession would work well as some sort of element in a radio piece or a piece dealing with wider broad- (or narrow-) casting issues. It would also be an interesting piece to play in a social setting, allowing people to listen communally and comment or discuss afterwards, as you might do with friends at home looking at home movies or a slideshow (in the ‘olden days’). This apparently regressive step, because it focuses on people rather than devices, is to my mind in fact very pro-gressive and is the best way forward for what is being called ‘field recording’ nowadays, making new work more accessible and widening the debate on the artistic merit (if any) that these works might have. Otherwise we risk ending up with a 19th century gentleman’s club of conceited, opinionated and rather ridiculous sound collectors.

*essential that artists knows what they’re about – even if they don’t know what they’re about, they need to know that.

-Caity Kerr (from The Field Reporter)

(...) Next is Intercession by Seth Cooke released on intriguing netlabel Impulsive Habitat. This is one 21 minute track constructed with Seth’s customary attention to detail from sound sources found ‘singing in the wires’ at his place of work. It starts with a frantic chirruping and buzzing – an orchestra of locusts conducted by Steve Reich – before settling into a shifting pattern of hums, ticks, throbs and gentle feedback tones. It suggests the micro-climate of self-storage warehouses, server farms, aluminium tubing, ducts in the crawlspace. In the last five minutes birdsong and traffic can be heard alongside a scything overload in the cables, reminding us of the natural world replicated by the landscaping of the science park outside. I find this intensely absorbing. It has a kind of fractal geometry that pulls the listener into the recording. Despite being as cool as air conditioning and as alienating as fluorescent light I’m sure I can hear a very human yearning behind the machine buzz too. Exemplary.

-Rob Haylern (from Radio Free Midwich)

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COPYLEFT:

artwork/cover design:
©2013 Seth Cooke
©2013 David Vélez
music:
©2013 Seth Cooke
©2013 Impulsive Habitat

This work is licensed under a BY-NC-SA 3.0
Creative Commons License.

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