Scenes from Babel

Scenes from Babel uses re­cord­ings of the human voice al­most ex­clus­ively, ex­ploring the sound material’s po­ten­tial for the con­trasting of a nat­ural (but seem­ingly ar­ti­fi­cial), in­terior, oral space with an ar­ti­fi­cial (but seem­ingly nat­ural), ex­terior, en­vir­on­mental space. The re­cord­ings are of the story of the Tower of Babel (Genesis 11:1 – 9) in ten lan­guages and I must thank Vlad Bogdanas, Graham Bushell, George Dennis, David Fanning, Alexis Guneratne, Chere Ko, Tomaš Kračmar, Mauricio Pauly and Tonje Sæbø for their voices. The con­trast between in­terior and ex­terior spaces is also sug­gested by the con­trast between the opening of the Old Testament, ‘In the be­gin­ning God cre­ated the heaven and the earth,’ and John 1:1, ‘In the be­gin­ning was the Word,’ and linked by ‘the voice of many wa­ters’ (Revelation 14:2). I do not wish to pass any judge­ment on this con­trast, merely to ob­serve its existence.

Scenes from Babel was com­posed at the University of Manchester’s NOVARS Research Centre for Electroacoustic Composition, Performance and Sound-Art in the winter of 2009 – 2010.

  • Instrumentation

    • Fixed media (stereo)
  • Details

    • Duration: 4’05”