Light Bulb

by Absolute Value of Noise

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This work is inspired by a clear grey-tint light bulb from the 1960's that I found in a corner in my basement. It is in itself a living sound piece. It plays an endless variation of buzzes and drifting static. I'm interested in the idea that an object normally associated with vision also contains a landscape of sound on the micro-audio level. It is interesting to alter the normal 'sense memory' that people associate with different objects. Taking a 'silent' object and translating or magnifying it into the audio realm creates a world of synaesthesia or mixing of sensory interpretations.

Light Bulb is a series of recordings of very quiet objects. The recordings were made by placing the objects in a small sound isolation box - a box that allows for extreme amplification of what's inside and at the same time is portable for use on stage in a live performance.

"I imagine a tunnel - about 15 feet wide and 80 feet long. It stretches underneath a building. The walls are brick and sand stone. The ceiling is laced with electrical conduit and plumbing pipes that run through the building above. From this lattice hang light bulbs of different kinds - halogen, tungsten, fluorescent. Each bulb makes a sound. Some of these sounds are loud and piercing. Some are almost silent, picked up by contact microphones and magnetic coils; they are amplified and fed back into the space through speakers on the ground. I move about the space, adjusting various controls - dimmer switches, audio faders, mic placement. And as I move, the lamps shimmer, generating an endless variety of buzzes, clicks and small flashes." (Light Tunnel, November 2004)


released December 1, 2004


all rights reserved



absolute value of noise Vancouver, British Columbia

Influenced by Merzbow, the Haters, Negativland and other denizens of noise-art culture, Absolute Value of Noise takes sound to the extreme. The artist likes to work with "gadgetry" - custom turntables, lamp filaments, wire coils, high voltage ionizers, robots, feedback systems, magnetic transmitters and receivers - to create both intense collages and minimal sonic threads. ... more

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