Of The Road
When I see a birds nest of audio tape at the side of the road I am
intrigued to know what is recorded on it. A speech
by a disgraced politician ? A live recording of Captain Beefheart ? Or
more likely the auto tuned warblings of the latest popster.
The tape harvested from 4 main roads
The Great West Rd, Western Ave A40, A406 North Circular
and the Uxbridge Rd. I also added a broken tape found on the pavement
walking down Wyndham Rd W13.
The idea was to make a 5 or 6 minute piece of audio by editing together
tape that was as undamaged as possible. Between the good parts I
intercut some of the roughest tape. I wanted the juxstaposition of rough
At times the tape was quite fresh and in reasonably good condition. A lot of it was like the stuff attached to the stick (see photo), this tape was abraded and torn, with cuts to the edges and covered in grime and filth. This had to be carefully washed with a little water and washing up liquid and then air dried. I cut sections that were the least creased or damaged so in most cases the edits were made for me. As the sections were edited they were fed back into a donor cassette which already had some tape in it. I was not aware until I played the whole thing back that there was some audio already on it. The recording wasof Buddy Rich lambasting his fellow musos, raving in a faintly psychotic bullying way, seemingly no ryhme or reason to his ranting.
This recording was re-discovered rather than found, but the synchronicityof a drummer on the road, and myself a drummer looking for music on the road was an interesting coda to the recording.
The music found, covered quite a geographical spread, from North to South America,South Asia, to Europe. I am really pleased with the eclectic nature of the music and sound. Some of the tape had no music and sounded like the run out groove of a vinyl
This project would be virtually impossible to make now, cassettes have almost totally disappeared. I do not see nests of tape in the gutter anymore. The film could be seenas a requiem to the medium.
Think of the soundtrack as the main focus, and play loud, the visuals are backgound, though there are significant moments in there - the end shots of the man who lived under the motorway suggest a whole new film.
update Jan 2021: John O’ Dwyer who lived under the motorway for decades died you can find out more about him here https://chiswickherald.co.uk/man-who-lived-under-chiswick-flyover-for-over-years-dies-p12281-203.htm
0.20 ‘Vamos A Guaracher' 1956
Celia Cruz & La Sonora Matancera
2.10 ‘Sheesha Ho Ya Dil Ho” Lata Mangeshka
4.09 Gairon Pe Karam Lata Mangeshka
4.48 ‘Jane Kyon Log’ Lata Mangeshka
5.16 ‘Vallon Valerde’ Celia Cruz & La Sonora Matancera
6.00 ‘Pepe Antonio’ Cela Cruz & La Sonora Matancera
6.26 Buddy rich on tour bus.