Sunday, 20 March 2011

Wet Sounds

If you fancy a wet weekend at this year’s Glasgow Film Festival, you
could do worse than dive into Wet Sounds, a truly immersive experience
that involves listening to sound art underwater, where sound travels
four and a half times faster than on terra firma. The last time Wet
Sounds floated into view was in Leith Baths in Edinburgh, where a
none-stop electronic pulse added momentum as well as meditation to the
daily work-out. This time out, curator Joel Cahan has enlisted the
skills of site-specific specialist Eric La Casa and electro-acoustic
composer Adrian Moore to add a different element to Wet Sounds, which
this session uses two different sound-systems, one above water, the
other below.

“The event on Sunday will be quite different to the one on the
Saturday,” Cahen points out. “The one on Saturday will be pretty
similar to what we did in Edinburgh, but on Sunday with Eric and Adrian
we’re going to have the whole place lit up differently, so that becomes
part of the experience as well as hearing different sounds depending on
whether you’re underwater or not. The mixer allows us to route the
sound anywhere we like, so it’s actually a split composition in two
parts.”

Since Cahen began Wet Sounds in 2008, it has become something of a
global operation, capturing the imaginations of novelty-seeking
swimmers as well as more serious minded avant-garde music buffs.
Hearing such seemingly highbrow artists wares in a local leisure centre
too is a mouth-watering prospect.

“You only normally get to hear a lot of electro-acoustic work in an
academic context,” Cahen points out, “so to get Eric and Adrian inside
a swimming pool is a real treat. I think we’re lacking in venues for
listening to things that aren’t just concert venues to watch bands in,
but where you can go to listen to things outwith a purely social
context. I quite like the possibilities there are of using the pool as
a total art space, where it becomes a completely different world you’re
experiencing.”

Just remember, though, as the signs used to say, no dive-bombing and no
petting. Especially not the noisy kind.

Wet Sounds, North Woodside Leisure Centre, Glasgow, February 19th,
2pm-4pm; February 20th, 5pm

The List, February 2011

ends

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