elegy for Bangalore

This audio composition stems out of extensive fieldworks done at Bangalore city, India, between 2010- 2011. The work accommodates passage of time that affects detachment, decay and departures in the perception of transfiguring acoustic geography of the city. Stemming out of intense phenomenological experience in an emerging Indian city and its complex sound world, the work represents a sonic construct that investigates multi-layered listening processes at the city that is undergoing dynamic metamorphosis. Working on the assumption that passing of time over an once-inhabited but rapidly-emergent locale can be captured by employing a contemplative-poetic mood of elegiac pace in listening-methodology, this work explores indolence to facilitate meditative and in-depth observation involving a keen sense of temporality and spatial historicity that reshapes memory associations disconnected and erased during the course of time.

The primary material for the work was gathered in six months of extensive fieldwork. The audio composition took two more years to slowly take a final shape. The sounds that were gathered during the extensive field recording embody the imagery of amorphous urban development, exemplified by the enormous metro-rail constructions. The disruption occurs in an anticipation of idleness quite typical of Bangalore and similar to that of other Indian cities. Sounds retrieved and restored from found reel-to-reel tapes provide insights into this endangered idleness embedded within the essential urban nature. Apart from being mere sound information extracted from industrial environment of the construction sites, the field recordings are the impressions, reflections, and musings of a nomadic listener. They are inclusive of the phenomenological experience of expanded listening recontextualised in the composition that augments the imaginary outlines of the city by framing the impermanence of sounding urban growth. The strategy of composing has been digital-acoustic mediation of recognisable environmental sounds into auditory contexts; the aim is to evoke listener’s spatial association, cognition, and imagination of the city in the state of slow and gradual decomposition.

1 Track (elegy for Bangalore, 55’49”)

Recorded and Produced by Budhaditya Chattopadhyay.

All sounds and texts by Budhaditya Chattopadhyay © 2013

Recorded on Sound Devices 702 with MS rig (MKH 60/30) in 2010-2011 at various locations in Bangalore city, India.

Mixed on AudioSculpt/Pro Tools HD/Cubase 6.5 in 2011-2012 at Studio 4, School of Music, Bangor University, UK, and Listening LAB, University of Copenhagen, DK.

At various stages, this project has received financial and other support from Deutschlandradio, Berlin (broadcast); Charles Wallace India Trust, London (travel funds for production); India Foundation for the Arts, Bangalore (research & fieldwork).