Ep.07 - Psychologically Ultimate Environments


Environments is a series created by producer and sound recordist Irv Teibel (1938–2010) for Syntonic Research Inc. between 1969 and 1979.

The series consists of recordings of natural sounds such as a seashore with crashing waves or a thunderstorm with falling rain, without musical accompaniment. Mr. Teibel's work helped to ignite a worldwide interest in field recordings—which resulted in many imitations being released throughout the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, both with and without music.

The sound collage presented here is the result of the compilation of Environments 1-11 (of the LP iteration of the series) into a curated progression of simultaneous events. These “impossible spaces” are designed to create a dissonance of orientation, staging a strange cacophony from what originally were intended to be methods of relaxation.

Ep.06 - Empty, Hot, & Remote

The sixth installment of Galaxy Express 555 is a nexus of personal catharsis and abstract geographic resonance, as inexplicable to its creator as is may seem to its intended audience. Using the Renaissance composer William Byrd’s “Miserere Mei” as a starting point, a MIDI file of the 16th century composition was executed through a synthesizer at 5 BPM, turning a roughly three minute motet into more than three hours of audio data. This sample was then cut down to 15 minutes over a period of weeks. The final composition is paired with an excerpt of a very unique field recording of silence taken in the afternoon of 20 December, 2011 by Belgian sound artist Peter Lenaerts.

More on this recording, in Peter's own words:

“The Church of Saint Elijah the Prophet is located 8 km outside the remote town of Coober Pedy, deep in South Australia, roughly 847 km from Adelaide, or 2088 km from Sydney. The town has a population of 1695 and average summer temperatures around 34 ̊C. The highest temperature recorded was 47.8 ̊C. The church no longer has an active parish. Only tourists visit, and because of the heat, not many tourists travel through this part of Australia in summer.

"I originally intended to record the empty quiet of the church interior, but when I first got there the wind outside was audible in the sub frequencies inside. So I changed my idea, placed a stereo microphone between two candles and recorded the entire process of both candles burning. For good measure, I let the recording continue for another half hour after both candles had burnt up.”

This episode is dedicated to the memory of the victims of the Oakland Ghostship Fire of December 2, 2016.

Ep.05 - On the Edge of the Bog

The fifth installment of Galaxy Express 555 features excerpts from a daily sound diary kept by sound artist and musician Natalia Beylis throughout 2013. Focusing on the practice of intensive listening, her work under the Sunken Hum moniker investigates the pure sonic fact of everyday events, translating her life in the wilderness of northwestern Ireland into a common language of awareness.

From her write-up of her release, The Sunken Hum Vol. 2: A Day in Three Acts:

I live in a house set in the middle of a bog that is surrounded by woods which are edged by fields and fairy hills and lakes that fall and rise with the rains. Sometimes the clouds sit gray and heavy like a big blanket in the sky and all the cattle lay in the field, droopy eyed, beneath them. Sometimes the fox sneaks up the driveway and steals the chickens. In autumn, the cows cry back and forth when the farmer takes their calves away. In spring, the elusive cuckoo comes calling for his mate. The tractors rumble all through the warm summer twilight and with winter the fire crackles and the hot water pipes lull and drone. And all through the year the rain plays rhythms everywhere it falls.