Self-noise is an audio-visual installation and performance reflecting a soundscape of disc inscription practice. The audio disc has been directly inscribed using signals from microphones present during the disc engraving process visible on screen.

Field recording was fundamental to musique concréte and early work in the 1940s used recording lathes which would help shape the basis of subsequent structural composition. Contemporaneously, the mechanical sound of these machines would have been avoided by recordists and engineers and therefore recordings of disc recording itself, engraved to disc, appear absent from historical archives.

Here the record lathe is placed at the centre of the soundscape. The listener is invited to view the disc inscription process whilst playback of the resultant 7” disc, recorded directly from contact and ambient microphones, is synchronised. Reduced (or other careful) listening methods prompt questions about relationships within the grooves between: the acousmatic and visualised; self-, surface, and process-oriented sound as well as highlighting absence before and after the record is ‘cut.’

Presented (and performed) at Acoustic Ecologies Festival, Attenborough Centre for the Arts, January 2020. Photograph of performance courtesy of Sally-Jane Norma