by Bec FARY
Interview on RRR (Triple R) - Melbourne - Australia.
Stéphane Marin talks through his approach to environmental sound, field recording, sound art and listening. Plus, a world tour of sonic wake-ups through the series "Each Morning of the World".
A closer Listen
by Richard Allen
"K ~ Ö" by Stéphane Marin - Album review
"As the curator of the ongoing series Each Morning of the World, sonographer Stéphane Marin has played an integral role in championing the art of field recording. While he’s occasionally contributed his own pieces to this project, it’s been a while since he’s released an album. "K ~ Ö" is an evocative soundscape that either makes complex ideas simple or simple ideas complex, depending on one’s vantage point. (...)
One of Marin’s main points is that the boundary between organic and inorganic sound is difficult to glean. While certain sounds are sharp and easily identifiable ~ breaking glass, local birds ~ there’s a finer line than expected between machinery and precipitation. When the first is steady and the second is hard, they share a dronelike aspect that challenges classification. Glass is made by heating sand until it becomes a liquid, which blurs the line even further; the factory itself is bordered by lakes. We hear the workers in the sixth minute, and recall that the process involves capturing material from the outside, manufacturing it inside and sending it back out. Down the line, much glass will end up in lakes and seas, eroded by time and tide until it becomes sand again, or is discovered earlier as cherished beach glass.
The recording locations range “from Södvik protected wetlands to Otenby’s lighthouse on the windy island of Öland, to the forests, lakes and glasswork factory of Kosta.” By linking these locations in a loose narrative, Marin creates a field recording version of a Bond film, travelling to exotic locales in the pursuit of a prize. This prize is a philosophical understanding of the symbiotic relationship between humans and their environment, nestled in a celebration of fire, water, earth and air (...)'
"Sensory Walks: Learning by Walking, Thinking by Experiencing
"My sound practice is rooted in in-situ listening. Whether is the city or other types of territories (countryside, protected natural area, park, garden, industrial space, architecture ...) I welcome them all with the same attention & openness to the encounter. In any way, I do not try to "integrate" (no more than dis_integrate!) a space (and those who are involved in) and I don’t want to "integrate" myself in it. What I must let happen - within the technicality of my own contextual practice - is space and time: an « opportunity », as open as possible to encourage the meeting between this territory and myself first, and then between this territory and the audience where the performance happens (the collective soundwalk). To check that there is still room for places (enough room) to impregnate the most strongly, the most specifically the creation in progress: a real opportunity to move it, to resonate in it, to inhabit it, to push its boundaries. Starting from an environment we will reveal together step by step: a landscape. Check that each site can be eligible (via a natural qualitative listening work, or mediated by a creation or a re-composition in situ) to the rank of landscape: this country re-created, transformed, « art_ialised » (as Alain Roger would say) by an act of creative consciousness (and / or sometimes perhaps also by the hazards of a Debors’ drift or a Bachelard’s « awakened reverie » ?!)."
by Tobias FISHER
"YOGA OF THE EARS" : Fifteen Questions Interview with Stéphane Marin
"I am more interested in listening to a slug walking than a wild animal roaring. Everyone has already listened to a lion, nobody has ever listened to a slug."
"Only with the choice of microphone and the choice of its placement, you're about to create a point of listening, a sound framework. You are definitely starting to compose."
"Sharing a soundscape's experience is really different than listening to a concert in a dedicated place. In the case of soundwalks, everyone can experience the intimate connections between each listeners and the environment."
Theater of Noise
by Robin Parmar
"Serendib rythms" by Stéphane Marin - Album review
"A dog barks suddenly. Like a canine alarm-clock, it's been fashioned and positioned to wake us from our reverie. It ushers in a drone of insects, a dark sound bed harbouring some industrial noise. Is it a motorboat offshore? Or a generator closer to hand? The auditory world of Stéphane Marin is open to many interpretations, each provisional by necessity. In the opening minutes of Serendib Rhythms, the composition grows in density and intensity, before dropping away suddenly to reveal a tool impacting on wood, part of some agrarian activity. Or so we guess.
Sounds are fluid here, a product of Marin's complex audition of his milieu, and his powerful desire to make us listen as well. The arrangement is theatrical, the album structured in movements, sutured by sudden sonic events that demand our attention. This is the opposite of "nature recording", that Romantic desire to represent a pristine world exempt from our influence, as some sort of refuge. Instead, Serendib Rhythms incorporates patterns of working life as prominently as the pulse of water or insect.
Marin foregrounds sounds others choose to avoid. A barking dog is conventionally heard as interruption, as noise. Many would exclude this sound, but Marin's contrary decision calls attention to itself. Some might find this difficult listening, but it is also invigorating. The album notes speak of "de l'atomisation des espaces opérée par les microphones", which is a powerful phrase. Marin doesn't present sounds as evidence of an indexical reality. Instead, they are deliberately reconfigured for the ear through montage."
A closer Listen
by Richard Allen
"Serendib rythms" by Stéphane Marin - Album review
"The rough part of this recording is its integration of off-putting sounds, in particular a dog-barking introduction and a period of hammering mid-piece. These are sounds that one normally wishes to escape, and not sounds one normally associates with an island. They represent the dark part of the fairy tale, and perhaps the inescapable presence of sound pollution. (Wild dogs would be another story, but these seem to be guard dogs, domesticated and angry.) The human presence is also far more upfront here than in the prior recording, from footsteps to yells to car horns to the sound of things thrown against the ground ~ and in one instance, muted fireworks or gunfire. Given the sonic choice of two destinations, most would prefer Lokrum Island to this archipelago.
But wait ~ bear with the recording long enough, and one begins to hear the beauty in contrast. More peaceful sounds await, from quiet rivers to tropical birds to the rocking of a hull against waves. The composer chooses to unveil both forces simultaneously: birds and babies, engines and seas. Yet even the abrasive sounds begin to intrigue as they clump into drones midway through the piece. When the dogs return at the end, they are a bit quieter, as if contemplating what they have heard. Given the choice of silencing certain sounds before hearing them, we might have agreed ~ and in so doing, missed some of the best parts of the invisible archipelago. Better then to plow forward into the cacophony of life, to preserve the possibility of serendipitous surprise."
Theater of Noise
by Robin Parmar
"Matins d’Ariège" by Stéphane Marin - Album review
"It begins with a juddering of a window being buffeted in the wind, and then we are sucked out into a squall, wind swirling about us. To lock out the gale we slam doors closed, slide bolts on their supports, and latch squeaky shutters. Thunderous impacts alternate with the howling gale in a procession of inside/outside, far/near, dissipation/intensification. Literally and figuratively "Bourrasques" is an opening. It's a stunning way to commence "Matins d'Ariège", a new release by Stéphane Marin.
The results have been composed into a powerful evocation of place. These seven tracks are compact and efficient, demonstrating a highly tuned ear and a ruthless editing process. We get no tedious, indulgent soundscapes. (Though I also have time for those.) Everything lasts exactly as long as necessary; the emotional force of the composition is amplified as a result. (...)
Through overt technique and careful collation, Marin demonstrates how our own individual interventions in a landscape form that place as a response to our presence. No matter how intimately he knows the locale, Ariège did not come to Marin fully-formed, but as a variety of experiences and constraints that had to be navigated and shaped. With so many naive field recordings being offered up to our ears, it is refreshing to hear one that reflects this phenomenological truth. (...)
If you were going to offer a single album every four months, then "Matins d'Ariège" would indeed be the one. Highly recommended."
For whom sounds the gong? "Mingalabar !" - ARTE RADIO - TTT
"Binaural? A technique which allows sound to be rendered in 3D. And here we are in Burma.
Close your eyes and let yourself be carried away by the experience of 3D sound!
In this immersive road-movie in Burma, between Rangoon, Lake Inlé, Mandalay and Bagan, we travel with closed eyes between the languid, giant Buddhas, bathed in prayers which the wind disperses. In order to capture this rich sonic landscape –broadcast on Arte radio - Stéphane Marin used a binaural microphone.
Those who know about sound spatiality see in this the radio of tomorrow. As for the director, he prefers to uphold the merits of an ecological attitude to recycling and of archiving the world’s sounds:
“This form of recording respects the psycho-acoustic conditions of natural listening.” S.M.
The binaural format manages to trick the brain in making us hear an audio space in three dimensions, wherein we sense distance as well as movement, giving the impression of an unfolding narrative: the meditative gongs of the temples, a monk’s murmuring, the bustling noise of nearby lanes…
For fifteen minutes, we take a stunning voyage to the land of a thousand pagodas –without moving."
L'Atelier du Son, 18 avril 2014
L'Atelier du Son
A radio broadcast on contemporary sonic performance.
France Culture - L'Atelier du Son - Friday 18th april - 23h
This is the story of a taste for sound born in the head. In the head of Stéphane Marin. Which today finds its way into the heads of others who come across him. In the beginning there was philosophy and poetry, then sampling and manipulation of sounds within a room, then the desire to break through the walls so that the sound could be heard outdoors. A desire to marry it with other noises, those of the exterior world.
With his company Espaces Sonores, and through his travels, Stéphane Marin has developed a “yoga of listening”, a practice to be shared, to create encounters.
Espaces Sonores, is a nomadic ear, at the other end of the world or just outside your window, where there is sharing and movement – sometimes under an umbrella.
FRANCE CULTURE L'Atelier du Son 18/04/14
The magazine of street-art creation
Expressions sonores : "Listening to the world"
".../... with Stéphane MARIN, (.../...) a keener vision of reality … through listening.
"I want people to be better able to feel and to comprehend what they are and where they are”.
His company Espaces Sonores has created the sound-world "Un Pépin pour 2" / “An Umbrella for 2”: a brolly, two “listening walkers” under the umbrella’s ribs, each connected up to headphones and, so they can find their way, a series of stickers posted (.../...) thorough preparatory research enables the recording of voices and sounds linked to the site, which Marin, "an author of spaces", accompanies with more literary texts.
Under the cover of this “satellite disc made out of fabric creating an exclusive microcosmic world”, the primary aim is to facilitate a meeting between these two volunteers. And to transform them into a kind of double body/act, awkward and surprised, becoming in their turn a kind of mobile performance for the astonished passers-by.
For Marin, movement is a kind of quest, an impulse towards the defloration of an opaque reality. The different levels of sonic creation confuse and divert the perceptions of the public, so as to better “ bring them back amongst their own sensations”, says Stéphane Marin."
co-edited by Lieux Publics, Centre Nationla de Création
The quest for space, an european odyssey.
“A show which moves as though in the footsteps of a horse” (Père Courage, Le Phun)
from the intimacy of an audio journey under a shared umbrella (Un pépin pour 2,
a sensitive and poetic journey across a space by the Espaces sonores company),
passing through a festival imagined as a choreography of its inhabitants (Dream City,
art festival in situ in Tunis)
: the common vector is the spectator’s/citizen’s body, which becomes actively involved in its own way.”
A radio broadcast on contemporary sonic performance.
Stéphane MARIN @ Campus FM - Toulouse - Wednesday 30/10 10h
The programme “Déambulations Urbaines” met with Stéphane Marin, artistic director of ESPACES SONORES, whose projects explore, reveal and share urban sounds.
The first part of this interview is given over to "Un Pépin pour 2", an audio journey in which the sounds of the town are mixed with other sounds that are heard through headphones. This creation is fully contextual, that is to say, entirely written in, for and with the place where it is enacted.
The second part of the interview is concerned with Stéphane MARIN’s conception of listening, and the musicality of noises and of silence as manifested through the presentation of 2 sonic siestas, Elemental and Ipos.
"Un pépin pour 2. A walk for two people under an umbrella. It’s not some kind of new concept for reality TV, but a street show in the form of a journey, made by two people equipped with stereo headphones. Nothing to do with audio visits for tourists! Rather, the idea is that you discover a place (a town, a village, an area) through its sound. Or re-discover it, if you know it already, because each journey will stimulate you to see and to hear differently. A sound or a detail will transport you somewhere else. A highly original walk, sensitive and poetic, which you take in partnership with the stranger who’s walking with you. It just shows, no need to run after happiness in order to spend a joyful moment together!”
"Thought provoking ! Thank you for the experience ! / Very engaging and interactive. 'Interactive' on a whole new level. / Unique perspective to Singaporean Life and issues in an audio tour eye opening / Great idea! Helped me gain an insight into Singpore's identity crises .../... "
Visitors book- An Umbrella for 2 - Singapore
"Even the most jaded arts aficionado is sure to get a fresh feel for the arts festival compound by going on a “tour by umbrella”.
Time out Singapore
"Did you know that the sound and stage director of the “Umbrella for 2” is French? Stephane Marin is truly remarkable for capturing the spirit of Singapore so honestly and beautifully. A mish mash of dialogue heard during the walk is a result of Espaces Sonores’ interviews with many people from all walks of life."
This brolley (pépin) won’t bring you bad luck when you open it. This walk takes you on a journey in sonic space which is unexpected, provocative, puzzling and destabilising. A great way to stimulate your ears and even make them doubt at times what they’re hearing, as they are fed by psycho-acoustic treatments of sound. When you go on this walk with someone else, you naturally feel open to sharing, to meeting. Whether you know the other person or not at the start, you share a quite intimate space under the umbrella, as well as sharing a slice of time, a walk through an urban soundscape, sensations which are visual but above all sonic, and when the walk is finished you find yourself sharing impressions, comments and even the same memories."
"Creativity abounds... In one programme by a group of French artists entitled An Umbrella For Two... This was a new way to experience of the city. One wonders if the same could be done on the streets of Bangkok, where half the pavements are occupied by food vendors and quite often motorcycles."
B.E. Hospitality Group Pty Ltd - Sydney
"the tour isn’t just about finding your way around Singapore – it combines ambient noise and conversations and some story telling as well, so with your headphones on, sometimes it’s hard to tell what’s an actual sound on the street and what you’re listening to on the headset! Some of the sounds enhance what you see around you; others augment the reality of what you’re looking at; others are just incongruant with the surroundings and toy with your senses…
If you’re a tourist visiting Singapore it’s a great way to explore one of Singapore’s more popular areas. For locals, you’ll realize that you’ve never actually taken notice of some of these surrounding structures until now!"
Bangkok Post. - Bangkok
"DiD you know? Two visually impaired guides participated in the sound recording and were part of the voices guiding the public throughout the Singapore Arts Festival 2012.
(.../...) 5 guides, Wesley, Serene, Lee Lee, Pek Ling and Kelvin went to experience An Umbrella for 2 during the second last evening of this event.
We had an enjoyable and enriching time."