anonradio: the next generation

Background Noise:Jed Speare soundscape artist

Posted in Background Noise by loops on April 15, 2008


two pioneering luminary producers from the world of  dub reggae music have sadly passed away recently.  Richard has a small tribute and some of their music.

This morning a special on the Boston based American experimental sound artist Jed Speare.  He is a soundscape artist utilising environmental and musique concrete theories and approach. We Will Be Featuring a brand-new double CD of his SoundWorks from 1982 to 1987 on the Family Vineyard   label .  Also his earliest recording cable car soundscapes from 1982 on Smithsonian Folkways recordings .

Jed Speare is an artist working in a variety of media. Initially trained in music composition, he has made multidisciplinary work in time-based media such as sound art, performance, video, and film, and has also exhibited conceptual and community-based  work in museums and galleries, regionally and internationally.He has had a number of awards.

Jed Speare works in sound within a lineage from musique concrete to electroacoustic music and industrial culture.  In the Words of Jed Speare:

As a Young Composer in the late 70s seeking a stronger connection between practitioners art, my own life and the phenomena around us, I was driven to working with tape recorders and the environment of sound.  I had been profoundly affected by R.  Murray Schaeffer’s book The Tuning Of the World when I set forth in 1978 to go to the origin of his research, The World Soundscape Project, outside of Vancouver, there to attend classes at Simon Fraser University’s Sonic Research Studio.  My own homage to that realm came in 1982 with the record album Cable Car Soundscapes, a work which starts out as a sound document and goes on to include interviews and ends as a tape composition.  It is really a tribute and memorial to the historic cable cars of San Francisco which were being phased out at the time. Here Are some excerpts from cable car soundscapes.

4 voices –6′ 50″

5 mettle of metal — first 5′

 Continuing in the words of Jed Speare: I was enchanted by musique concrete as a music student in the early 1970s speare believed the new increasingly popular electronic music instruments at the time offered a much narrower sound spectrum than the musique concrete rich palette of environmental sounds. He Established his own studio in San Francisco in 1980 and used tape recorders and microphones.  He went on a sound journey of field recordings and returned to the studio for manipulation and mixing and of course, cutting and splicing  .  Musique concrete style.  This all happened well before digital sampling.  And now from his

SoundWorks 1982 — 1987 from the CD one:

At the Falls 1982 — section 4 (21′ 33″ — 26′ 50″)

This Was a Performance in New York around a waterfall, and the sound was to have an essential quality like the ambience of water without using any water sounds .  The vocal interpretations were recorded at a psychiatric hospital in Mitrecourt in France. Section 4 the baseline sound is recorded live at a survival research laboratory performance in San Francisco in 1981.

sleep tight 1982 — 13′ — 21′ 01″

It’s a Collaboration first performed in New York in 1981 and then travelling to Holland.  Some of the sources for the score include a hospital sleep clinic in the Bronx, the Franklin furnace in New York and it also included film by experimental filmmaker and David Geary.


taboo death, 1982 — 6′ 55″


before AIDS was first reported in San Francisco this performance was presented in New York.  The voices are from the streets of San Francisco, a hospital and sounds from the Paris Metro and industries, amongst others.


Love Object, 21′ 24″ first 7 minutes

sound and music by Jed Speare, performance in collaboration with Rob List.  As a participant in the so und so und so II visual music days Festival Speare created a work that combined tape sound, live performance and sound sculpture.  The Love object is the sound sculpture — 12, 5 inch speakers mounted on copper rods in a white cylindrical vase.  Tone generating oscillators were fed through them.  The speakers swayed on their stems sound sunflowers.

Wayside 1987, first eight minutes (13 preferably)

a sound piece about  airports having a population, which is  transient yet stable. It Is a collaborative video and audio work.  Presented in Amsterdam and using the Schiphol airport for video and audio recording.  This piece marked the end of Jed Speare’s sound driven, image based collaborations and performance he made in the 80s.

Brings to an End our journey through the sound world of Jed Speare.




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