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Author: Colin Black
Title: The London Ear Drops (Radio Edit)
Year: 2020
Technique: stereophonic sound work
Duration: 20'42''
Unique work

Produced, composed, recorded and mixed by Colin Black.
Interviewees: Michael Umney and Hannah Brown.
All instruments (including the piano in St Pancras International Railway Station) played and/or programmed by Colin Black.
Location recordings from London, edited, compiled and mixed at Frequency Oz (Australia) by Colin Black.
Premiere (and only broadcast of radio edit): HRT Radio, Slika od zvuka, 3 June 2017.

5.000,00 € + VAT

This work also includes:
· Psychogeographic Map of London, 2015. Technique: Pastels on paper. Measures: 22 x 33 cm.
· Five digital photographs.
· A filtered digital map of London.


One of the notable features of London, as explained to me by Michael Umney, is that you can’t see the horizon unless you walk over a bridge. In a way it is a claustrophobic view that blinds people to the idea of other far off places. So, for part of this movement I interpolated interview recordings of Michael Umney and “trapped” them between location recordings of London. The idea here was to sonically mimic 3D maps of London where the people are in the street and the view is blocked by the buildings all around them.

Even though you can’t see the horizon, London does have some beautiful parks. So, at 6am one morning I made a recording of the wind blowing through a left on a tree in Regent Park that was later treated in the studio. When I use audio filters I think of them as “memory filters” as they add a layer of interpretation to the original sound source, similar to how memories reinterpret lived embodied events.

The last movement of this work begins with the sound of the River Thames and fades into the sound of people walking across the Millennium Bridge. These sounds become slowly heavily filtered to create “memory” music, that is augmented with other electronic sounds, setting the scene and mood for Londoner Hannah Brown. Brown exclamates that in London, she could, “become whatever I wanted because nobody knew me.” This idea that no one knows you in London, this anonymity is also a theme that emerged in Michael Umney’s interview as individuals merge into the overall texture of the city or as Umney explains become “part of the environment.” However as Brown states, “that’s part of the joy of moving to a big city...” and that is where this work leaves its listeners, pondering the joy of living in London as the sounds fade from earshot and this sonic encounter with London is implanted in your memory.

Click here to read full text by Colin Black.

Colin Black, Psychogeographic Map of London, 2015. Pastels on paper, 22 x 33 cm.

People at St Pancras International Railway Station, London. Photo: Colin Black.

Piano at St Pancras International Railway Station, London. Photo: Colin Black.

Trafalgar Square, London. Photo: Colin Black.

Filtered copy of Regent's Park section of "Improved map of London for 1833, from Actual Survey. Engraved by W. Schmollinger, 27 Goswell Terrace" by Colin Black.

Photograph taken from near the Tower of London. Photo: Colin Black.

People mudlarking along the banks of the River Thames, London. Photo: Colin Black.

Colin Black. Photo: Ana Uvar


… amongst the most significant Australian creative artists of his generation, a composer/sound artist who has created a significant body of important work in a relatively short time, work which spans installation, sound art, fìlm, radiophonic works, and beyond, with many of these works having gained international attention.

- John Davis, CEO Australian Music Centre, 25 February 2011

Dr Colin Black is an internationally acclaimed composer and sound artist having won the 2015 New York Festivals award for sound art, the 2003 Prix Italia Award and being shortlisted as a finalist in the Prix Phonurgia Nova (France), Prix Marulić (Croatia), Grand Prix Nova (Romania) and the APRA Professional Development Awards (Australia). Black has received multiple national and international commissions to create innovative major works for installation, performance and broadcast in Australian, USA and across Europe. Black’s curating credits include, international festival/showcases of award winning Australian acoustic art and radio art at London’s Resonance104.4fm, Kunstradio (ÖRF, Austria) and Toronto’s New Adventures In Sound Art. In 2016 he curated Ear Drops: Sonic Boundaries for Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s (ABC) Soundproof program, while in 2013 he was invited to curate Sound Fix: Your Weekly Dose of Transmitted Audible Art series for ABC Radio National’s Sound. Music. Word. program. Black completed his PhD at the University of Sydney where he was a recipient of the University of Sydney Postgraduate Awards Scholarship. More recently Black has become a visiting research fellow at Goldsmiths, University of London, an adjunct fellow at the Southern Cross University and a casual academic lecturing at the University Technology, Sydney. Black is also the founding member of The International Radio Art (and Creative Audio for Trans-media) Research Group.