Echo (sound piece WIP)

I’m exploring the idea of the echo effect, an extension of my research I explored in my sound essay last year. I’m interested in how varied the phenomenon can be, for example in this sound piece there’s integrated zoom recordings of my vocals singing in the Pentland hills. The echo response is what I’ve used, there’s an effect which is almost chime like, so I’ve tried to riff this idea using metal chime sound objects I made. I’ve also explored the audio software I use (Ableton) to experiment with echo effect pedals, this itself shows how varied the effect is. I’m interested in phenomena involving echo such as listening to a sea shell is actually the echoing of your heartbeat in your ear. I’ve tried to emulate this a little in the piece by generation reverberations of the echo which sound wave like.

Extract from my sound essay “Through the lense of Ovid’s ‘Echo’ ,the greek mythology story, I want to interpret the electronic effects and vocal techniques used in Neshat’s Turbulent as a feminist device to emphasise the inequality of women in the music industry.  ‘Echo’ references the Greek mythology story of a mountain Nymph who falls in love with Narcissus, I will use this to symbolise the power dynamic between men and women in the music world, specifically in Iran where Neshat’s focus lies. Resonance is how the sound can emotionally affect the body by resonating with it, vibrating in its cells and tissues-  ‘Echoes’ are ‘physical phenomena’ and ‘magical doctrines of sympathy’. Echoes can cut through language and affect us on an emotional level. Perhaps this is because Echo endures as a ‘disembodied and uncontrollable voice, we relate the uncontrollable to the emotional such as depictions of women throughout history as hysterical. Sounds such as screaming embody this and artist’s such as Sarah Vanhee explores collective screaming as a tool for ‘liberation’, freeing women from a deeply embedded stereotype.

Echo ‘reflects, echo resonates and reverberates – moves in its own continuum – not simply to play-back what has come before, but to vibrate on.’ Therefore the words hold resonance beyond the original meaning, it has the ability to be transformative. It is perhaps the most creative effect as through connection to the environment  (environment is essential to echo) it can create its own response. The physical echo will always return a sound distinct from the original, bearing the traces of its travel through time and space.’ Echo extends the ephemeral evidence of a kind of lineage, a collapsing of the tenses. It has past- been breathed, in present-sounds and in future-refracts. We hear its memories it’s actions and future possibilities, becoming an incredibly animate effect. Echo exists as an uncontrollable vibration which has the power to both take up space and reinvent itself. “