Classical CD Reviews

CORRINGHAM: Walking – Innova

Not really music; an unusual audio exploration of environments and stories.

Published on January 20, 2014

VIV CORRINGHAM: Walking – Innova 872, 49:46 [Distr. by Naxos) [10/29/13] ***1/2:

These seven works are reproduced here courtesy of the artist’s series of “Shadow-walks” which she has recorded all over the world. The idea is the splicing together of elements of a special walk with a person, consisting of both conversation and environmental sounds. When the performing artist later does the walks again solo, she records her vocal sounds to mix together with the original tapes.

Nos. 1 & 6 are set in Portugal, where six people take the composer on their special walks. No. 2 “Skywalks” is recorded in eight miles of climate-controlled passages in Minneapolis which have brought the city indoors during inclimant weather. No. 3 is in Hong Kong, Nos. 4 & 5 in London, and No. 7 by the polluted Gowanus Canal in Brooklyn. Her recorded walks have been presented in live concerts in many of these cities.

A British vocalist, sound artist and composer, Ms. Corringham has been doing her international walks since the early 1980s. She even offers a free iPhone app using the device’s GPS to activate different sound works on a walk, called Arrivals.

I found the seven tracks extremely fascinating, and much better via headphones than loudspeakers. I think they would be even better if recorded originally with a mic in the ears—a la binaural recordings— which usually would eliminate the in-head effects one gets listening to stereo on headphones. I made a number of similar walks in France and Mexico that give more of the feeling of the environment than do these tracks.  I could also frankly do without the singing of the composer.

—John Sunier




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