Brasil: noise



120310-000            Feira Nordestina, Sao Cristovao, Rio De Janeiro. Forro band towards the end of their set, lead singer giving the audience their phone number for further bookings. Announces different members of the band. Some sections of vocal-less triangle, accordion and bass drum. Shouts of “BRASIL!” Audience members audible throughout. Vocalist gives long shout-out at end, thanking everyone and their dog.

120310-001            Feira Nordestina, Sao Cristovao, Rio De Janeiro. Walk through different areas of the fairground just before sunset, past different ‘districts’. Electric condenser / fan noises, sound systems playing different music. Lots of Brazilian voices, passing conversation and shouting. Mobile phone answered. Butcher’s cleaver on chopping board. Long line of karaoke bars inc extract of song called Negra Angela performed by old bloke who dives into the middle 8 a whole bar early then corrects himself. CD stalls playing Forro. Arcade games. Loud cluster of youths. Toy duck being pulled along by kid. Ends with Tanuja being accosted by restaurant tout.

120310-002            Feira Nordestina, Sao Cristovao, Rio De Janeiro. Spot at a lanchette between sound systems, different music blaring out from each one. Forro mixing with MPB. Vocal and casio keyboard soundcheck on stage.

120311-000            Taxi from Sao Cristovao to Ipanema, Rio De Janeiro. Passenger window partially open. Travels along major bypass road and into a tunnel; small break in tunnel; then out of a tunnel and onto the edge of Lagoa district. Tiny amounts of radio noise. Some large bumps.




120311-001            Cicadas in Jardim Botanico, Rio De Janeiro. Some fuckery as I turn up the volume and put on the windshield. Traffic and conversation. Helicopters. People laughing. Monkeys faint in background.

120311-002            Jardim Botanico, Rio De Janeiro. Aborted recording of above.

120311-003            Jardim Botanico, Rio De Janeiro. Walking along to small waterfall. Helicopters. Stepping away from waterfall at end.




120311-004            Jardim Botanico, Rio De Janeiro. Monkeys in the trees, club football game in the distance. Music from football social. Car sounds and horn. Occasional footsteps on gravel. People cooing at monkeys. Some clunks as microphone redirected. Major close-up monkey frequencies at around 2.40.






120312-000            Arpoador beach, Rio De Janeiro. Recorded from beachfront outside Arpoador Inn. Voices at nearby tables, heavy surf, traffic noises from behind. Conversation in many different languages as people walk past. 

120313-000            Jardim Botanico, Rio De Janeiro. Lawn sprinkler, voices, security radio, and odd multi-timbral noise (electric floor polisher?) from renovated mansion.

120313-001            Jardim Botanico, Rio De Janeiro. Orchid house. Voices, footsteps in reverberant greenhouse. Mystery noise from 000 still audible.

120313-002            Jardim Botanico, Rio De Janeiro. Gloopy fountain in bromeliad house.

120313-003            Tijuca rainforest, Rio De Janeiro. Brief moment of calm. Crickets, nearby stream, constant bird call in trees. Footsteps walking up forest path.




120313-004            Waterfall, Tijuca rainforest, Rio De Janeiro. Close-up, human voices audible throughout. Switches to distance recording at roughly 2.30. Woman from Buckinghamshire yelling “Tone! Tone! TONE!” and walking off. Approaching waterfall from other, quieter side. Recording continues with less human voices. Some different textures from around 5mins. At 6.40 some sounds of walking away from waterfall, textures change again briefly.

120314-000            Channel-hopping through Brazilian TV. Recorded at room level in hotel. Low level air conditioner hum in background. Magazine programme / announcements / news report / news report on violence against women / evangelical sermon / channel ident / American film dubbed into Portuguese / public information film about the disappeared / various trails / political discussion programme / some slushy Christian music and chirpy evangelist / fragments of jingles / Petrobras commercial / trail for a political debate on the parliament channel / Programme titles / Opening of Law And Order (USA) dubbed into Portuguese / amateur rapper on magazine show, screams and cheers. Announcer talks to rapper. Item is on using photoshop to give women an unrealistically ‘ideal’ figure / melodramatic telenovela.




120314-001            Leme beach, Rio De Janeiro. Heavy surf, voices in foreground. Kids playing volleyball in background. Dogs barking. Woman sneezing. Radio from nearby juice stall just about audible.

120314-002            Forte do Leme, Rio De Janeiro. Tiny moment of calm in military-owned rainforest before helicopters descend again. City noise from streets below.

120314-003            Forte do Leme, Rio De Janeiro. Slightly calmer atmos on hillside. Rustle of salamanders in undergrowth.

120314-004            Forte do Leme, Rio De Janeiro. Cicada and aeroplane. Faint sound of Tanuja laughing at the fact I’ve started recording the cicada and it has immediately stopped.

120314-005            Forte do Leme, Rio De Janeiro. Vista from various angles, military fort, looking out over full stretch of Copacabana beach. Heavy wind at top of hill. Helicopter passing massively close overhead. Buffeting wind noise. Wind in trees. Calm descends at about 2.30. Faint city sounds, then another helicopter approaches. Advertising tannoys audible around 3.40 onwards.

120314-006            Forte do Leme, Rio De Janeiro. Halfway down hill, interesting stuttering bird call overhead.

120315-000            Ipanema, Rio De Janeiro. Roadside atmos at night. Restaurant tables being cleared. Then a walk down the road past various bars and clubs. Live Bossa Nova act with female vocal. Passing cars. Samba from club. Main road; buses driving past at incredible speed. Car horn beeps. Crossing road and then a pause for a perspective back up the street at distance.

120315-001            Rodoviaria Novo Rio, Rio De Janeiro. General atmos at very busy inter-state bus station. Food stalls, conversation, luggage being hauled around, voices as people reach the top of a slightly squeaky escalator.

120315-002            Town square, Parati. Lackadaisical conversation between street vendors. Moderately heavy rain. Strangely Eurovision-like MPB from restaurant. Passing traffic on stone-studded street.




120315-003            Outside modern church, Parati. Modern Christian music with bad drumming and congregation leader amplified. Repeated verse-chorus. Sounds like it’s never going to end. Street conversation.

120316-000            Vista over Parati from Morro Do Forte. Evening. Light rain, dogs barking, cicadas chirping. Loud Brazilian family in house next door. Light aircraft faintly audible. Cars driving up cobbled street. Pulling veranda door shut; sound of rickety ceiling fan.

120316-001            Vista over Parati from Morro Do Forte. Heavy rain, drips from guttering, rain hitting foliage, voices next door.

120316-002            Vista over Parati from Morro Do Forte. Heavier rain still. The dogs seem to have shut up. The family also.

120316-003            Vista over Parati from Morro Do Forte. Intensely heavy rain at height of thunderstorm.

120316-004            Vista over Parati from Morro Do Forte. After intense rain; ceiling fan audible from room behind.

120316-005            Vista over Parati from Morro Do Forte. Morning atmos. Church bells at 9 o’clock.

120316-006            Vista over Parati from Morro Do Forte. Further morning atmos. Circular saw from church renovations in distance. Monkeys and birds. Sounds from small town at bottom of hill; vocal flock of birds fly past. Car driving up cobbled street. Hammering and conversation from nearby homes. Faint sound of fishing boat motors powering up on dockside. I also record a fridge at about 4mins in. A nice buzzy fridge. Plus the fridge door shutting and opening.

120316-007            Historic centre, Parati. Street conversation, sounds from various shops opening up mid-morning. Sound of a horse-drawn cart approaching. At 2.30, a runaway horse: just caught in time by its owner. Horse does 3-point turn and canters off into distance. At 3.30, atmos on a narrower side street.




120317-000            Edge of forest, Parati. Night. Crickets, cicadas and night calls from various birds. Motorbikes passing two streets away, then very close by at speed.




120318-000            Lapa, Rio De Janeiro. At the lower end of the Escadaria Selaron. Some wind noise. Old bloke singing from his flat window. Street conversation, the end of an argument about drug dealers (very, very angry woman berating police officers.) Tin cans being kicked around.

120318-001            Lapa, Rio De Janeiro. At foot of Escadaria Selaron, sound of delivery truck parked nearby and an old bloke singing from his kitchen window; lovely tune. Various voices (mostly tourists taking photographs.) Truck sound levels out at about 1.52 and aircraft heading into Santos Dumont overhead. Footsteps on stairway. Singing much clearer from about 3 mins. Change of perspective from c. 4 mins and more aircraft. Retreating up the stairway from c. 5 mins.

120318-002            Parque Das Ruinas, Santa Theresa, Rio De Janeiro. Theatre rehearsals in a hollowed-out building containing a metal walkway and staircase leading to a lookout over the city. Sounds of footsteps on gantry; families with noisy kids on second level. Uninterrupted city sounds from distance at c. 2 mins – 3 mins. Café noises in passing. Mobile phone interference briefly.
From c. 4mins city noises with slight wind. Airport constantly active in b/ground.
From 7mins walking up central metal stairway. From 8.20 walking up to uppermost lookout. Conversation at lookout post.
9.54 someone descending metal steps. A moment of relatively uninterrupted cityscape – radio noises, advertising tannoys, traffic. Raised voices from level below. Aircraft passes nearby at c. 12mins. Supercilious and rambling comments from Atack at 14.40.

120318-003            Parque Das Ruinas, Santa Theresa, Rio De Janeiro. Bells at mid-day on Sunday. Ice-cream seller’s horn beeping. Uninterrupted city noise for about 20 seconds. C.2 mins perspective changes; radio sounds drifting on wind, occasional camera shutter sounds. Dogs barking 3.27. Kid yelling MUM at 4.10 as aircraft goes overhead. Constant bell at 4.50. Further bells and repeated Fur Elise chime (propane delivery truck) from 6.10 – 7.50. Then conversation/kids etc. Different bell in perspective at 8.30.

120318-004            Parque Das Ruinas, Santa Teresa, Rio De Janeiro. Further perspectives from lookout tower, this time over Centro district. More propane delivery truck (x2 in places). Sounds of shouty theatre rehearsal at start. Police sirens. Some pretty insistent bird noises. Voices from adjoining buildings. People climbing metal stairs at 4.30, ends.




120318-005            Santa Teresa, Rio De Janeiro. Kids playing football next to quiet street. City noise drifting up hillside. Birdsong throughout. Cars drive past now and then.

120318-006            Santa Teresa, Rio De Janeiro. Dog barking on street; another dog responds briefly. Van drives past.




120319-000            Santa Teresa, Rio De Janeiro. Mix of music from different street parties carried on breeze. Funk Carioca and MPB from favela; samba from houses closer by. Occasional cars.

120319-001            Santa Teresa, Rio De Janeiro. Recording from top floor of building. City noises, aeroplanes, music from favela. Occasional wind buffeting. Cricket chirp. Cars passing by on cobbled street below; voices on street. Activity in nearby houses (doors shutting etc.)

120319-002            Santa Teresa, Rio De Janeiro. As above with music shifting to slightly more anthemic, mainstream MPB.

120319-003            Santa Teresa, Rio De Janeiro. As above with music changing to more leftfield Funk Carioca. Dogs barking. Very cut-up music with warped vocals (reminiscent of My Life In The Bush Of Ghosts.) Repetitive waves of synth brass. Wind in trees picks up around 9 mins.

120319-004            Santa Teresa, Rio De Janeiro. As above with metal shutters closing on window.




120319-005            Statue of Cristo Redentor, Corcovado, Rio De Janeiro. Crowd. Mix of languages in different conversations around observation platform on very busy morning. 11 min recording moving slowly through throng; camera clicks and electronic beeps. At 3.30 tourist helicopter flies past rudely close; hovers around other side of statue then comes back for more. Rubbish bin at 6.50. At 9mins a tour guide giving a history of Lagoa Rodrigo De Freitas and an anecdote about the the lake getting clogged up with masses of dead fish.




120319-006            Railway station at top of Corcovado, Rio De Janeiro. Tourist voices. Helicopter in b/g. At 2.30 cog train approaches and comes to halt. Samba band audible inside train. Applause as samba band stops. Queue for train.
At c 3 mins recording switches to inside train; samba uke strumming. Voices of tourists on train. Percussionists tapping away. At 6 mins train begins descent and samba band start playing in earnest. Some fuckery as I rapidly take the mic att down. Occasional applause from passengers. Samba band play until halfway-stop on train journey when they sort of peter out; applause. Voices on train, conversation between passenger and musician.
Mic att returns to normal for train pulling away from mid-way station at about 13.20; voices of passengers as train descends to Cosmo Velho, through favela and rainforest, over about 10 minutes. Lots of clunks and rattles, and some sort of repetitive high-pitched squeak. Train occasionally slows and regains its speed. Some nice mid-frequency wobbles as train goes over a bridge.

120319-007            Sugar Loaf mountain, Rio De Janeiro. Sightseers taking pictures; cable car doors close and cable car leaves. High-frequency sound of wheels on cables, fading away. Some wind noise.
Walk around to wheelhouse, wheels turning; then sound of machinery as second cable car approaches, slows, stops, safety barrier and cable car doors open (nice big metallic clunk.)

120319-008            At edge of Sugar Loaf mountain observation platform, Rio De Janeiro, Atlantic side. Bossy tour guide keeping her shit together. Helicopter in b/g.




120319-009            At edge of Sugar Loaf mountain observation platform, Rio De Janeiro, Botafogo side. Trustafarians having a conversation about Rio geography. Strange animal noise in undergrowth beneath platform. Americans complaining about their cameras. Sound of aeroplane approaching Santos Dumont airport.





120320-000            New Metropolitan Cathedral, Centro, Rio De Janeiro. City street noises captured in interior of amazing bucket-like building. Recorded liturgical chant through loudspeakers. Regular two-tone beep of German guy’s camera – strangely adds to the sense of calm (it’s in tune with the chanting.) Aeroplane passes overhead. Everything reverb-ed to fuck. Car horns, brakes and passing bus hydraulics merge into one long, changing chord.




120321-000            Parque Das Ruinas, Santa Teresa, Rio De Janeiro. Second failed attempt to capture city noise from top of vista, immediately interrupted by Australians.

120321-001            Parque Das Ruinas, Santa Teresa, Rio De Janeiro. Third attempt, this time with some loud French bloke having a ‘say what you see’ festival all on his own. Then, HOORAY, unbroken city sounds from about 30secs to 2.50, then for 1min after. Roadworks in distance. Children’s voices. French guy chatting on and off throughout, but some quiet moments and odd unidentifiable city sounds.

120321-002            Parque Das Ruinas, Santa Teresa, Rio De Janeiro. As above with monotone scrap metal merchant’s tannoy moving in and out of Centro streets below.

120321-003            Parque Das Ruinas, Santa Teresa, Rio De Janeiro. Aborted recording of the above.

120321-004            Parque Das Ruinas, Santa Teresa, Rio De Janeiro. City noises, scrap metal merchant’s tannoy very audible, pneumatic drill, security guard’s pocket radio blasting out advertising, aeroplane overhead, sweeping brush on terrace below, squealing bus brakes singing out like some sort of bird at 5.30, different advertising tannoy at 6.10, insistent indistinct speech. Then a third tannoy at 9mins: regular cadences in the voice, almost like a military drill. Mournful dog lowing intermittently in f/g.

120321-005            Primary school, Santa Teresa, Rio De Janeiro. Scrap metal merchant tannoy passes; then sound of large class of children in reverberant schoolroom, recorded from street outside. Cars pass. Chairs pushed around and doors slamming. Teacher’s voice occasionally raised.

120321-006            Streetside, Santa Teresa, Rio De Janeiro. Ice-cream seller’s horn parping, close-up then drifting into the distance. Dog barking.

120321-007            Garden, Santa Teresa, Rio De Janeiro. Moderate wind in the trees, wooden wind ‘chimes’. Military helicopter passes overhead. Cat mewing.

120322-000            International Airport, Rio De Janeiro. Departures terminal on quiet evening. Heavy air-conditioning hum. Radio faintly audible from nearby food stall. Passing voices, occasional squeak of trainers on polished floor. At 3.45, electronic chimes and automated announcement (female voice, strangely low, halting, and husky.)


Comrade Rick

- TOTALLY OUT OF ORDER, THAT’S WHAT I SAID, COMPLETELY OUT OF ORDER, HE SHOULD WATCH HIS – oh, sorry, hello! Didn’t see you there. How are you? Mmm? Jolly good.

Yes, I’ve been a stranger. It’s been two solid months of writing outlines, pitches, applications and synopses round my neck of the woods. I’m emerging from the clammy darkness with some new work at the end of January, but in the meantime, come with me down memory lane…

In 2004 I embarked on one of my weirder projects, a square-eyed marathon where I resolved (for reasons still unclear) to watch one episode of Top Of The Pops for each year it’s held in the BBC archives, in a single sitting. I dug up bagfuls of VHS off-air recordings from Auntie Beeb’s vaults (one random date per annum) and chained myself to the gogglebox for a whole day. I took notes throughout, writing up the dubious results in brief installments for the really rather wonderful Choke Zine in Bristol. Unfortunately the zine quietly expired (probably for tax reasons) before the full story had seen the light of day; but many years later I chiseled apart a dusty hard drive and recovered my running commentary from the original exploit. Why not finish it, I asked myself? Why not end it all?

And, lo and behold, you can read about the sorry mess, in full, right here: TOTP: RIP

I hope it might bring you some small comfort in these dark times. Happy New Year.

Man posts to internet: tumbleweed


The image above shows the artist Claire Blundell Jones introducing tumbleweed to the Finnish landscape. Picture by me, taken on a cold misty morning in the town of Kuopio.

Posted for why? Fuh’pause I have uploaded some WRITING to the INTERNET, and you can find it hey-orr, or by clicking on the “Sample: writing” link elsewhere on this page.

I hope to chuck more PDFs online as time goes by, but for the moment there’s a screenplay, some critical writing, an exercise in pop music-based masochism and an account of attending the wonderful festival that the pictured Ms Blundell Jones was part of in 2007.



Archive: skulls, godzilla, etc

So I’ve been trawling through a bunch of old chemical photographs; you know the type… from the days before everything was Jeepigs squeezed through a USBtube onto a Macflap. Scanning, tagging, bundling online, that’s me — here are a few favourites for your eyes.

(Click on each image to see full size and not bunched up like a concertina or something.)


This is from Matara in southern Sri Lanka, close to midday with the sun at its hottest. Who wouldn’t be drawn to a three-wheeler named “Godzilla”?