The latest Cities and Memory project, Prison Songs, launched yesterday and the standard of submissions has been absolutely amazing. You can see and hear the project on the Cities and Memory website here.

Prison Songs examines the lives of the prisoners of the Mississippi State Penitentiary in the late 1940s, by reimagining the work songs recorded there.

From ‘Eighteen Hammers’ to ‘No More My Lawd’, these songs are a moving portrait of prison life, and defiant statements of hope and unity in the face of appalling conditions.

Here, 30 sound artists from as far afield as Brazil, Turkey, Australia and the USA bring their own lives and experiences to bear on reimagining these songs.

My entry is embedded above. I’m a massive blues fan so it was with some trepidation when I started to think about re-imagining a blues song. I wanted to produce a piece that is sympathetic to the original but not contrived or gimmicky.

I’ve tried to add a modern edge and glitch into the blues sound. The fluidity of the processed recording weaves around a steady drum beat which synchronises at times and others creates a tension.

I’ve used a cut-up approach to make elements of the song non-linear and these are interspersed with the original. The song was created and produced in Sensomusic Usine Hollyhock II DAW and I’ve also used the grain micro loop tool with random movement on a ring modulator effect fairly low in the mix to add some contrast and movement.

 
Sound artists wanted!
If you’re interested by the songs you’ve heard submitted for this project, why not take part? Cities and Memory have field recordings from all over the world waiting to be reimagined, remixed and reinterpreted. The latest places up for reimagination include British Columbia, Cuba, Dubai, Mumbai, Venice, Bangkok, Sicily and London.

There will also be future projects that you can participate in. For further information Cities and Memory can be contacted by email : stuart@citiesandmemory.com

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