From the catalogue:
I grew up in El Salvador at the height of the civil war. As a child I had become very used to the bass rumble of the bombs. There was a comfort in the fact that they were far away and since I felt safe at home this sound just became a background sound to our everyday lives. At night time my bedroom window met the sound of the muffled bass from the reception centre two blocks away, all the current popular songs were being played by live bands. I found comfort in these sounds. At night time both these deep bass sounds intersected one another. It was when the bombs sounded closer that fear became an association we would overlay with this sound. That the Quezaltepeque volcano whose skirt we lived on was ever present was also to be taken for granted. Having erupted once in the 20th Century the echoes of its bass also still resonated around us. (Lucreccia Quintanilla)
In this audio essay we work through some of the ways in which the limits of what is defined as noise becomes evident through the emotional and affective experiences of individual and collective memory over time and geography. It will specifically revolve around the muffled sounds of bass and its residues through Lucrecia’s experiences of growing up in El Salvador during the civil war. This bassiness brings together the sounds of bombing, shooting, parties and volcanic imaginaries. Over the essay we will unfold what kinds of sound triggers what memories and traumas, the entanglement of emotions in experiences of sound, the complications of joy and how trauma is held in the body and emerges even in times of joy and togetherness. We will show how the affectivity of bass is not about loudness but about the nuanced shifts and movements between frequencies that change the states and stakes of noise.
Focusing on the presence of bass, and what remains as it saturates space, mutates and degrades, this essay combines sounds that evoke environments and events across time. Told through stories and memories, and threaded together by wider reflections on noise, affect and the mutability of meaning and definition, this piece does not leave the listener with any resolution but seeks rather to celebrate complexity and plurality.
Kanngieser A and Quintanilla L 2021 On the volatility of noise, residual bass.
Voice, sound composition, field recordings
Commissioned by The Golden Pixel Cooperative for Wake Words, Kunstraum Niederoesterreich. 1 October-27 November 2021 [Online]