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No Time for Silence

"No Time for Silence" was commissioned by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's radio program "Out of the Blue" in October 2000. It is about losing our quiet places and getting back to them again, both geographically and spiritually.  Noise and quiet in this piece is about noise in our outer environment,  but also a metaphor for the noise inside our minds – how easy it is to lose the clarity which is so important to hear ourselves and our world.  How easy it is to lose our place on the earth when human noise drowns out natural rhythms.

No Time for Silence explores the movement from that noisy frenetic centre dominated by time to that quiet peaceful place where time doesn't matter.  The constant demands of time also add to our inner noise, hence the link between time and noise. The Earth has its own rhythms existing in time but not is regulated by time.   Almost all of the sounds in "No Time for Silence" were recorded in Ottawa.  Over the summer of 2000, I explored the soundscape of Ottawa and now have over 12 hours of soundscape recordings.   These recordings were originally recorded for a suite called "Capital Resoundings", a series of soundwalks and artist interpretations of four Ottawa locations - Hogs Back Falls, The Byward Market, Parliament Hill and the Lourdes Grotto in Vanier.  This project was partially funded by the Region of Ottawa Carleton.  The soundwalks and a sampling of sounds  can be found at

No Time for Silence

Through the Capital Resoundings project, my sensitivity to noise has increased.  I discovered that Ottawa is a very noisy city and I now notice sounds that I previously was able to block.  I find that now I have to take frequent trips outside of the city to explore those places where noise and time do not dominate.   Recordings from these places are also part of "No Time for Silence".  The piece begins with birdsong near Whitesburg, Kentucky, a small town in the Appalachian Mountains where I live for part of the year.  The fire sounds you hear were also recorded in the Appalachian mountains.  Water sounds and the rhythms of cicadas were recorded in Killaloe, Ontario, the location of the Full Moon Over Killaloe Audio Art camp, which I organize each summer

Victoria Fenner

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