Steven Feld: Waking in Nima

Steven Feld: Waking in Nima

$12.00 USD

VoxLox CD, 2010  Release Date May 15, 2010

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WAKING IN NIMA Recordings, ambient soundscape composition, and photographs by Steven Feld

Everyone experiences waking. But what difference does it make to wake in different places, singly, or repeatedly, and to wake to different sounds? For me, a wanderer, waking as often in mountain forests of New Guinea or New Mexico, villages and cities of Europe, the USA, or Africa, the sonic shifts between states of sleep, dream, and partial or full consciousness are a daily lesson in acoustemology, (acoustic epistemology), sound as a way of knowing the local world.

Waking in my apartment on a hill crescent in Nima, an ethnically diverse and class-mixed neighborhood of Accra, Ghana, once-strange sounds and sensations have now, after four years, become so familiar that I have the sensation of first opening my eyes and ears to the performance of an electro-acoustic composition in a concert hall.

I emerge from 5am sleep to Q’ranic recitation and calls to prayer from close and distant mosques, overlapped by gospel hymns, hellfire preaching, and speaking-in-tongues from close and distant Pentecostal churches. In their juxtapositions and overlaps I hear religious tolerance as acoustic co-existence.

Then I hear the sonic dawn of mosque and church sound filled out in time and space by a surround background of roosters, car alarms, voices, street vendors, a distant train. And this whole ambient picture is acoustically screened into my consciousness through the foreground presence of songbirds calling from a tree just next to my window.

 It’s not long before I become aware of my landlord’s presence in the flat below mine. In the mornings he’s always up early, sweeping at his doorstep, cleaning his Land Rover, and packing its rear with crates of empty soda and beer bottles from his restaurant. Dozing off after my cell phone alarm rings, I know the day is really underway when I hear his engine start and idle, and the compound’s heavy gates swing open.

Waking in Nima is a 46'00 ambient composition mixed from eight real-time tracks recorded over a single weekend from immediate treetops and the roof of my terrace flat. The compositional stream follows my process of waking into acoustic awareness of the space and time of sonic interplays. To best experience the acoustics of waking from dreaming, listen through headphones while lying down.

 

 

 

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