rnma002 | Cassette tape | 26 Mar 2020
From December 2018 - May 2019 Joseph Auer conducted field recordings in the London Docklands area and Southwestern Malaysia; including Kuala Lumpur. The bulk of the Malaysian recordings centred around the sprawling KLM (Kuala Lumpur Metro) which covers much of Selangor state as well as the small concentric administrative area of Central Kuala Lumpur (which is Kuala Lumpur "proper"), and the Muar-Batu Pehat "strip". Furthermore the environmental recordings are broken across two "lifestyle" frames: 1) pre-Ramadan and 2) Ramadan. The Muar-Batu Pehat recordings were all taken during the month of Ramadan while the Kuala Lumpur recordings were taken both before and during Ramadan.
Field/Environmental recordings are an odd thing in that they can be at once an authentic recording of unique spacial qualities that define place as well as inauthentic signifiers of "the other" or a generalised space. A good example of this is positing the question: "Does a field recording of a marketplace in Kuala Lumpur really signify a uniquely Malay occupied space or is it truly only a recording of a market place and nothing more; a generalised ersatz. In this later context then we could say there is no essential difference between a marketplace recording in London and a marketplace recording in Kuala Lumpur. In this case - why even bother going to "the other" when you can easily fabricate it anywhere.
It is between this space of authentic sonic document and fabricated imaginary soundscape - often given meaning by a framed "authoritative voice" that these recordings dwell. We understand the inauthentic through the compositional structures of these recordings alone while on the other-hand - it is a hope anyway - that the snippets of environmental recordings incorporated into the compositional structures do convey, somehow, an authentic uniquely modern urban Malay environment from the skewed viewpoint of an occidental traveller.