I had received a job offer to join the faculty of the Cincinnati Conservatory
of Music. Our town was grappling with development issues (fortunately
we managed to preserve the 'rural' quality of Roosevelt Borough).
Son Daniel was about to be born, and Lian had finished her first
year in grade school. Home, change.
I recorded a 10-minute slice of Jill cooking dinner (we had flounder).
She hated the microphones I tried to sneak into our kitchen, so she
didn't say anything. Lian was playing back in her room, you can hear her
voice faintly several times. The clicking-toenails is the sound of Looch,
our dog (the first most digitized dog in history!). I wanted to see
how many 'layers' of sound I could build with digital mixing capabilities
-- remember that this is in the early 1990's -- hence the giant stacks
of chanting-brad choruses doing the text of the piece.
Working with digitized recordings in music, certain sounds take
on a kind of iconic value in my mind and become almost characters
in a play I'm writing. The sound of our house furnace; the plates
clattering in the sink; the kids playing in the school cafeteria
(I acted as a fill-in 'cafeteria monitor' one day for some obscure
reason); even more abstract sounds like the ringing piano notes --
these all have a tangible meaning to me. But I can't really
say what that meaning is. It isn't a verbal thing. It isn't
a literal "throw the kids in the furnace and it means our
future is going to hell", but something subtler, metaphorical.
I do know that anytime you add reverb to recordings of kids playing,
it gets scary. Always.
I eventually turned down the job offer from Cincinnati. We still live
with the same furnace sounds.