Babbleon Cork

Gavin Prior
Babbleon Cork, the result of Gavin Prior’s residency at the Guesthouse in May 2010, is an audio collage in three parts composed solely of sounds recorded during his time in Cork, Ireland. With his portable recorder, he moved through the city guided by suggestions from Corkonians, his own ears, and serendipity. He had certain recording locations in mind, but many of the sounds were stumbled upon, which lured him away from his intended destination. In Cork, his task was to listen keenly and to seek out interesting places and people to record as source material. Working within a strict set of limitations, he used only the material he found in the city to produce the collage, making conventionally ‘musical’ passages solely from found sound. He avoided effects (apart from some EQ scrubbing up) because he wanted to keep it visceral and life-like. He felt driven to create a contemporary, urban soundtrack. He frequented areas he wouldn’t normally have spent time in when visiting Cork, so in order to draw out the stories of the people he engaged with, he changed his appearance to blend in. This resulted in the piece featuring teenagers spouting racism in a city centre chipper, perspectives on the economy from a homeless man, and carousing economics students. Cork sounds much like any other Irish city, but the undulous Cork accent is truly unique, and Babbleon Cork provides a documentary space for these city-dwellers to share their stories and opinions. The emotional content of the direct speech is soundtracked and enhanced by the abstract, “instrumental” elements in the collage. The result is a short album which captures the energy of the city mixing layers of abstracted sounds and the fluent, irreverent utterances of the Corkonians themselves. -Reprinted from Radius.