Originally posted in A Closer Listen.
Eastern sounds are unfamiliar to most Western ears, and vice versa. What seems innocuous in one territory may be misinterpreted in another. Never is this more apparent than on the opening selection of Mosaïque Mosaic, as what seems at first to be a militant speaker turns out to be the voice of a church evangelist at a Sunday service. The difference between expected and apparent timbre would be a wonderful subject for study in international relations. Do we really understand each other? If not, what would it take?
For the sound artists involved in this recording, it took a pair of visits to Cameroon. The seeming abrasion of amplified speech and music from outdoor speakers (not exclusive to Cameroon) masked a deep appreciation of musical tradition among the residents. The West manipulates music as well; the amplified bass and distortion in dance music and the removal of “non-essential” sounds…
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