EB Engine Entries September 8, 2019

One of the great things about the EB Engine is that you never know what you’re going to get when you tune in. This is fantastic when you’re trying to use it as a generative workshop prompt. But looking at Endless Beautiful from only that angle reduces the actual sound collection aspect to a means to an end, which is totally not my experience. Sound collection is an enormously rewarding and fun activity for me. There’s a story behind each and every one of these sounds, and I want to share a bit of that magic with you. So from here on out, I will attempt to showcase and reflect on the sounds going into the EB Engine and give a little backstory before I throw them into the forge.

I will be adding the following 4 sounds to the EB Engine later today.

  • Morning Blow Dry and Stir
  • Uplift Desk
  • Validating Parking Providence Place
  • Checking into 160 Westminster

Morning Blow-Dry and Stir

Morning Blow Dry and Stir

Carolyn was blow-drying her hair this morning. Admittedly, this is not the most exciting thing in the world, but if you listen to this recording carefully, you will hear me moving back and forth from outside the closed bathroom door and over to an open window. There’s a dog barking. It sounds like someone is mowing their lawn. Eventually, there’s a baby that lets out a loud squeal. A lot happens right away in the morning, much of it on pure instinct and routine. I shave my face, brush my teeth, and take a shower every morning before work, but if you stopped and asked me to detail out what I just did, I bet I’d have a hard time recalling strong details from my routine. This recording represents a slice of that chaotic activity, recorded outside our sometimes limited perspective.

Uplift Desk

Uplift Desk

Not much here, just the smooth, mechanical motion of the motorized desks at the What Cheer Writers Club in Providence, RI. You’ll find me in their fancy library nooks on most weekends. Whenever I come in and arrange my materials–my laptop, hard drive, water and coffee cups, recorders, and books–I’ll always hit the button to adjust my desk. Is it important to have a good ergonomic setup when you’re working? Yes. Secretly though, I like the sound that pressing the button produces. It also helps me feel fancy.

Validating Parking at Providence Place

Validating Parking at Providence Place

I’ve come to appreciate the Providence Place Mall over the past few years for many reasons. I wouldn’t describe myself as a big shopper, but you can’t beat $2 parking for up to 5 hours in their spacious parking garage. Financially, that’s a good incentive, but here’s the real reason I park there: it’s a great bite-sized way to people watch. I have to walk through an entire floor of the mall to get to and from my fancy writing desk at What Cheer. This gives me an opportunity to bask in all of the hum and intensity of a large mall, a place that you would have to drag me to otherwise. It takes me about 10 minutes to make my way through, and I find it to be a nice perspective switch. The area where I validate the ticket is in an intermediary area between the mall and a walkway that leads down to the street. It feels and sounds like an in-between space. The sound, the temperature, and the general feel are a strange blend between the street level and the mall interior. I look forward to visiting and passing through every time.

Checking Into 160 Westminster

Checking into 160 Westminster

Okay, so this is back at the What Cheer Writers Club. They have an elevator that leads up to the second floor. I absolutely could take the stairs, but it wouldn’t feel nearly as cool, so the elevator it is. At first blush, this is a relatively standard elevator ride recording, but just like anything else in this world I suppose, the closer you look or listen to it the more interesting it becomes. I love how rattly that door sounds in the recording. Without seeing the smooth slide of the golden doors, it sounds like a violent terror-jangle. I can assure you it is quite lovely in person. Another thing that I find interesting about this recording is the voice saying, “….technology…something…schools…” I don’t know what the hell that is. I’m pretty sure there isn’t a speaker in the elevator, and I was alone when I recorded this. Maybe the elevator is haunted by an I.T. professional?