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Recordings Of Her Voice by Pure Sound

Album Description

Released:March 2nd, 2011

[fm.m11] fieldmuzick mini cdr serie

The roots of Pure Sound are in the 1980s British Post-Punk movement. They tell stories with words, field recording collages and instruments. Carsten Vollmer takes their recordings and cut them in pieces. The result is the pure sound of the noise of a radio transmission.

  1. The Edge Of The World 
    Vollmer’s samples introduce the sounds of swamps alongside the Mississippi and a crowd at Preservation Hall, New Orleans. There’s the tune ‘Robert E Lee’ – a classic from the American songbook – played on the calliope, a steam whistle used to draw crowds to the Mississippi paddle steamers, and lorries going past on Highway 61, the blues highway up to Memphis.
  2. Dempester Highway 
    Opens with the sound of the Mississippi lapping against the banks of the river in St Louis and a lovely piano phrase from Boz Hayward. More Vollmer samples mix with freight trains and gravel from the Stovall plantation in Clarksdale in this lament for a love lost on Alaska’s remote but beautiful Dempster Highway. Keep on rolling, Dempster Highway
  3. Recording Of Her Voice 
    A story considering what we have left when people move on. Lost voices replayed have an eerie quality, while cheery postmen stuff bills through our doors and life goes on. The Chicago subway meets the paddle steamer’s calliope while those words take on an importance and symbolism far beyond the original intention. Some people have answerphone message transferred onto tape, because that’s all they have left of their loved ones.

For this recording, PURE SOUND are:

Vince Hunt: Bass, tapes, vocals
Boz Hayward: Piano
Simon Price: Spoken word
Sheona Drummond: Spoken word

about the record

PURE SOUND vs VOLLMER came about when Carsten Vollmer suggested we sample each other’s work and write new material from that. I knew how direct and uncompromising Carsten’s work was and thought the collaboration would highlight huge contrasts in the way artists approach each other’s work. I was curious to see what he might do with Pure Sound songs too – you couldn’t get much more different!

Working as Pure Sound I gather found sounds to build a soundtrack for lyrics, bass lines and piano melodies. When Carsten sent me his 7” singles this gave me a number of ideas of samples I might take. I work in Pro Tools so I selected some cuts but then had to go to America for work.

In America I gathered more sounds and stored them alongside the Vollmer samples. When I looked at the project again on my return, suddenly things started to happen. The Vollmer samples started to work with a mic check by a blues singer in Vicksburg and the sound of a swamp running alongside the Mississippi. Once I had a start, the rest was easy.

This collaboration features the Pure Sound AMERICAN TRILOGY, three tracks using found sounds gathered while main songwriter VINCE HUNT was in the United States in 2008 and made with samples taken from Carsten VOLLMER’s vinyl catalogue. Once finished the songs were sent to Carsten VOLLMER for his interpretation with his unique approach to music.

the american trilogy

These are the sounds of New Orleans, Chicago, Vicksburg, Minneapolis and St Louis mixed up and fed into songs penned on the road by Hunt. They feature the sounds of boats on the Mississippi, the calliope steam whistle from paddle steamers in New Orleans; freight trains going through Hannibal, Missouri; the Chicago subway and the gravel under car wheels from the Stovall Plantation, where blues guitarist Muddy Waters grew up.

These three songs are observations on life, love and relationships; on what we do with our time on this earth.

the lyrics

Edge of the World

Everyone else has what they want, while my face is twisted against the bitter wind of disappointment
Destiny called me. Pulled on my vest and hat and climbed aboard that ship. I went to the edge of the world, and didn’t think about it.
At the edge of the world the cliffs are rocky and brown. The wind is strong. It’s a long way down.
I think of a friend who walked into the propellers of an aircraft. And the polar bear who, with nothing else for miles around, fell for the old rifle trap.
Dipping fingers in the Berents Sea
So cold I have to rub them to bring back any warmth
It’s like shaking hands with a frozen friend
Those same fingers hold your hand at 3am
I have no control over what’s in my life
My footprint in some faraway place. It doesn’t matter much if it’s forward or back.

Dempster Highway

I feel like Franz Kafka, want to burn my work and walk away
Time is against me. You’re an accessory to heartbreak, hurt
Oh, you played me like a fiddle. My friends hate you 
because you played me
My A to Z of American back roads is damp from all the tears I’ve cried
But I’ve so learnt much from those pages
Winds through the mountains, stars in the sky
Tyres on the gravel, and tears in my eyes
Keep on rolling, Dempster Highway
Put your love on ice on the extreme highway
We say goodbye to our love, on the extreme highway
Keep on rolling, Dempster Highway
Winds through the mountains, stars in the sky
Tyres on the gravel, and tears in my eyes
By making sweeping generalisations, I’ll find no solace in days gone by
I need to close these pages, and stop these tapes
Tyres on the tarmac, tears on the dashboard
It’s been a one-way ride. It’s all been a pack of lies

Recordings of her Voice

A light rain was falling, on red earth country roads I thought I’d left behind
Purple, scarlet, vermilion. Two crop spraying planes beside the highway
A flash of sun, and we were gone
Recordings of her voice. That’s all I have left. I have no other evidence. I would turn the world upside down to hear her say those words again.
I wrote the words that she speaks, those words are all I have left. 
They’re diamonds from a different time, when we didn’t realise how important they would be. When we pressed Record we didn’t know one day I’d be here, like this.
She was a bird that flew south, an angel that grew wings: a ship that slips from the harbour one dark night. And who will take care of these tears?
A postman with a cheery smile stuffs letters through my door. But inside my house I hear her voice, downstairs. 
I should be tucked up against the rain, doing what I’m doing. But instead I’m playing recordings of her voice, again and again.
Only a matter of seconds, only a couple of words. But the recordings of her voice are all I have, and all I have left.
She was a bird that flew south, an angel that grew wings: a ship that slipped out of the harbour one dark night. And who will take care of these tears?


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