estonian strings

from by jez riley french



the unpredictable music of found strings, here captured using JrF contact microphones, offers up an experience both subtle and powerful - it keeps me fascinated, as does the challenge of presenting the results in a clear, emotive and simple way - allowing the moment of discovery to remain, tempered by the slow reveal of living with this music over time.

Please note: some of the frequencies of these structures mean that listening via computer speakers is not recommended, as you simply won’t be able to hear much of the sound. Therefore, please listen via conventional audio speakers or with headphones. thanks.

The recordings featured in this composition were made during my first trip to Estonia for a residency at Moks. For those who haven’t visited Estonia before its vast openness and freedom from sound pollution make it a fascinating country to explore. The molasses hued mirrored lakes offered up some fascinating hydrophone recordings (some of which feature on my cd ‘the bright work’). whilst the sound of trees cracking together and grain barns rattling themselves from sleep in the occasionally strong winds provided some richly charged moments of deep listening.

I found transmitter cables, long chimney support cables, disused piano wires stretched across old farm utensils, rust covered fences - each one a surprise, a discovery and a joy to listen to.
Also, standing in a simple, plain field bordering a seemingly endless, straight rail track and listening to the singing of the telephone lines that ran alongside the rails gave one a sense of unintended harmony between the modern world and the nature it all too often attempts to impose itself on. I made small cut-out pictures, placed them alongside the train tracks and in the long grass and photographed them - a picture story to send to my daughter - all the time with the sound of these long harp strings in my ears. My thanks to Pheobe for the constant joy & inspiration she brings to life.


from estonian strings, released May 5, 2016



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Jez riley French Yorkshire, UK

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