The LongPlayer | London | UK

We’ve all thought about music, sound and experience. I was thinking about it in the context of insect sounds. Being in Cambodia, I can recall insects there that were unworldly, in the metallic character of their trill. And how, in their presence in the abandoned temple compounds, they totally changed the experience of those sacred spaces, long left lone. Or frogs in the heart of the swamp — there’s something more to the heated still of the Everglades — in that silence; but there’s something else to the continuous burbling of frogs, and how they affect that space. Silent, or teeming. Or nocturnal space: birds that even seem to be singing at night — the Frigates, that keep running, soaring, singing and sailing, spinning far out in the lights that shine skyward. But what about that unnatural space? Made space. The gulls and doves of Istanbul, spinning nightbound about the Agya Sofia. Or the pigeons of Florence. Nightsongs in Central Park, NYC.Those sounds, naturally, change things. There’s something natural there, but the space is manmade. That interplay is intriguing.

But there are other sounds, that just keep going on and on. Like waves. And of course, that’s what sound is: it’s waves that keep reaching outwards. Waves that flow and keep flowing. I still find myself thinking about sound in these natural spaces, then I think about them in other spaces. Built spaces — natural sounds in, or manufactured — even programmed sound, without. Like Ryuichi Sakamoto’s [ ]and Brian Eno’s [ ]sound / sculpture installations in Dentsu honsha | Tsukiji. Or the terminal tunnel at Chicago’s United O’Hare. Or the NRQW subway line at 34th / NYC, with the hanging vibrophonic movement sound maker. Sure, there are dozens of others, thousands, that you might be thinking about. What about the idea of sound that flows for one thousand years?


This sound, of course, isn’t natural, but it’s processed in a way that we might think of something naturally founded — randomization of extant sounds, rechanneled — six times, six differing ways. You can learn more here:

“Longplayer is a 1000 year long piece of music which started to play on the 1st January 2000 and will continue to play, without repetition, until the 31st December 2999, when it will come back to the point at which it began – and begin again.

In its present and original incarnation, as a computer program, its been playing since it began in the lighthouse at Trinity Buoy Wharf, London E14. Its also playing in the planetarium at the Bibliotheca Alexandria, Alexandria, Egypt, the Powerhouse, Brisbane, Australia and in Rufford Park, near Nottingham, England. Plans are in an advanced stage for other listening posts around the world.

Longplayer can also be heard globally via a live stream on the Internet.”

I ponder, the sound of the bell, what does this mean in the context of continuous sound, experienced in natural, experienced in sacred space, experienced — anywhere. Have you ever experienced a bell like sound, naturally? Ravens, for me — make a curious bell like quork that is somehow like that. But elsewhere — ice, ice crystals, and icicles…Whales and dolphins ping.

Otherwise, what?