Red Road

As I write this I’m loaded up on vitamin C and other forms of medicinal over the counter products to take care of my miserable cold (or man-flu as its widely regarded in the west of Scotland), but thats enough about me, oh and I’m listening to Efterklang!

On a field recording trip last week we visited the Red Road Flats in Glasgow to capture some sounds and experience these huge constructions that climb so high into the grey sky that surrounds them.   The trip was really to collect sounds to prepare for a performance by The Red Ensemble (of which I am a part of) coming up on March 2nd in the Recital Room in Glasgow.

We wandered round the intimidating towers with these devices and couldn’t help feeling like we were almost stealing something from the place, we automatically split up from each other and went our separate ways for about fifteen minutes to find our own sonic playground in which to collect our sounds from this landscape.   The interesting features surrounding the flats included: birds, traffic, passing people, broken glass underfoot, telephone conversations.

Arriving into the block that we had access to we were ushered up to floor 23 where we could sample and record the sounds from one of the rooms in the tower.   Once inside we were like school boys recording everything that made sound: the lift, the creaking doors, floorboards, windows open/closed etc etc. . it was brilliant!

You may be asking yourself by now, why these flats?  The simple answer is that they are being pulled down but due to the amount of asbestos in the rooms and building, it will take some time (some say longer than it took to build them).   There is more information here if you are interested in the flats and the various projects that are going on in and around them.   A few more small points are that a friend recently informed me that he in fact stayed in these flats during his time studying in the RSAMD in Glasgow.   They are now a source of housing for people seeking asylum in Scotland and I would say within arriving at the flats last week, the most obvious thing about the people we met entering & exiting the flats was their friendliness and good manners.  In addition you can look at the film that was recently made about the flats here (although be warned – its supposed to be pretty bleak.

The sounds we gathered will be used in the performance on the 2nd March and hopefully with some time (if I can shake off this cold) I will do most of the processing beforehand to save doing it all live onstage.

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