Ian Baxter
Sound Artist






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A Distant Beach in Landlocked Sheffield.

Piece written for 'Adventures' a tape by Ghosts

When thinking about travel I'm often reminded of the Henry David Thoreau quote about him not travelling the world but being proud to have “travelled widely in Concord” (his home town). With this in mind I think about the routes I have walked around Sheffield or my hometown in Cheshire. Often when I walk down a street that used to be a regular route I have a strange fantasy of travelling in my own past, half expecting to meet a younger version of myself walking the other way. Something about the light, or weather on a certain day heightens this feeling, triggering memories of long forgotten routine walks. Home from school with grass-stained knees from breaktime football, to the library with a bag of books as a student, in automatic drunken hazes from nights out in town...

Sounds are another important trigger for such memories. A couple of months ago half asleep on a late, late drive back from London we ghosted down a road where I used to live. When I lived there years ago I would lie in bed listening to cars driving down the road and now I was one of those late night travellers. Was someone lying in bed listening to me? That road was special, something about the position of the houses back from the road and the geography of the long, straight road turned the sound of the cars into something like waves: the sound of a distant beach in landlocked Sheffield.

Over 4 years I lived in various shabby rented houses on that street and I made several recordings of the sound of cars passing. Probably around the same time I was falling in love with the idea that recording something frames it and turns it into music. However, the only one I could find is on a 4 track cassette tape marked up ‘Hungover -11.30 Sunday”. It's me idly plucking some minor chords whilst a mic hung out of the window picks up the sound of cars passing on the road.

Sheffield, Jan 09

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