Viv Corringham wanders the streets of London in this fascinating set of field recordings, capturing her improvised vocal interaction with the ambient sounds of the city. In six locations – Borough Market, the Thames east from Queenhythe, St Paul’s Cathedral, a Moorgate construction site, Kings Cross Station, and Tate Modern – she haunts the areas, leaving momentary sonic imprints. Corringham offers spitting pants in response to the swirl of water; when faced with the conversational static of the market, she answers with her own confused babble; clear snatches of the talk of passers-by are cut-through with a wasp-like drone; all these gestures and many more closely, if briefly, meld her with her surroundings. The recording is excellent, capturing stamps of feet, the clatter of roadworks, the buzz of an over-passing airplane; Corringham is often entirely absent, happy to let the space she is in speak for itself, only contributing a duet at some personally intuitive moment, acting as our ears on her path. The voice sounds disembodied, drifting free around its environment, alighting here and there to interrogate specific aspects of the soundscape.
The chaotic jumble of noise that encompasses the collected noise of a city both welcomes and buries, at times Corringham is lifted above the general clamour and at others completely subsumed. ‘Gum + Butts’ is captivating, oddly intimate, feeling like an invitation to an eavesdropping; a contemplative ramble through spaces not usually paused in, and appreciated for their accidental but nonetheless beautiful music.
Purchase ‘Gum + Butts’ from Bandcamp here.