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Jez Riley French's 4 Questions on Field Recordings: Cédric Peyronnet

img  Tobias Fischer

When & why did you become interested in field recording?
Well everything started as a kid: My father was doing some theatre (for kids) sound recording & mixing - I just remember we had … maybe three or four real to real tape recorders connected together in a non academic way (ready for feedback), and then, one sunday afternoon, with all this stuff working together we recorded what - in our mind - were plane pilot conversations (nowadays, I guess it was simply a shortwave radio, but ...) ...Then I started to record by myself some sound objects around the house and insects in the country side, metal junk and so. I remember that the first proper piece I made (aged fourteen) was a sound collage made of radio interferences, insect sounds, and bits of stolen music, that we used for the end-of-the-year school fest. This was/is simply a way to explore the environment, to listen to it better. I can simply spend hours listening to a place, and to explore it by recording it's smallest details with my microphones. I sometimes don't even care if the recorder device is set to 'record'. I see and feel it as a a kind of geographic exploration.

How do you use your field recordings in your own artistic output?
All my work is 'location' focused: I mean the starting point of a piece is always coming from the exploration of a place, and the recordings done in this place. But I usually don't try to do a simple report (raw field-recordings) ... the field-recording becomes a matter - just as clay for a sculptor - something to start working with … But it is more, of course: Time, space, emotions associated with. And working with the recordings from a place, brings to the mind the emotions associated with It: it's usually the starting of a work

Do you regard 'natural' sounds as a musical element (bearing in mind that the conventional definition of 'music' is rapidly becoming obsolete) or as sound? Is this definition important? Does it matter?
As sound, but as I said spending some time to listen to the organized sounds of a street is just like listening to music.

Has the act of making field recording had an effect (positive or negative) on the way you listen to your everyday surroundings and how has it affected the way you listen to other music and sound (if at all)?
Well, it really changed of course my way of listening to my own environment; it also changed a lot what I was 'expecting' from the so-called environment, society and, well, even life ... taking care of the smallest things, being really aware of small vibrations …

Interview conducted by Jez Riley French in March 2008 for the in place blog, republished with kind permission of the author. Jez Riley French is a UK based artist whose work focuses on the exploration of detail via intuitive composition, extended field recording techniques and photography. Visit his website here.

Homepage: Cédric Peyronnet

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