My Fun: Sonorine
The Land Of

My Fun (Justin Hardison) gives the evocative soundscaping of Sonorine a unique conceptual twist by orienting it around the titular device itself, an early ‘talking postcard' made from black lacquer that enabled its user to record personalized sounds onto a disc that could then be replayed in another setting (the first known reference to a gramophone postcard appears in an advertisement in a 1903 issue of Phonographische Zeitschrift, and Sonorine is, in fact, only one of many registered trademark names, with Tebehem, La Phonopostale, Cartophone, and Postphonocarte some of the others).

Using field recordings, samples, found sounds, and electronic processing to produce the densely textured material, Hardison manipulates recordings of specific places so that they retain their suggestive power, while at the same time allows their narrative qualities to open-endedly accommodate the listener's projections. Having said that, associative titling sometimes points the listener in a particular direction, as do the contents of the pieces: “Radiant” is exactly that, especially when shimmering organ tones merge with its crackling streams and rippling static, while “Signal Drift” blends buried radio voices, blurry bell tones, and birds into a dynamic, intense drone. Elsewhere, lullaby tinkles ease an imagined baby to sleep, and a man and woman converse, though their words are rendered unintelligible when accompanied by an industrial churn. The Land Of aspires to explore “the subtle detail and beauty in everyday sounds,” and Sonorine certainly succeeds in meeting that goal.

October 2007