The Time of Bells series presents Feld’s global exploration how of bells make place. After a detour into African music for Volume Three, Time of Bells 4 returns to Europe, with animal, church, musical, and sleigh bell selections from Italy, Denmark, and Finland. Additionally, the research expands into new geographic and symbolic terrain: the time of annual ritual bells in Japan, and the role bells play in heralding world peace in Japan, the USA, and Iraq.
The first four tracks are from Europe. A Sardinian vocal quartet is recorded in a kitchen, singing in a polyphonic style unique to these sheep herding communities. In Venice and Copenhagen, the ringing of many Sunday church bells and a grand carillon, respectively, are heard in consort with the sounds of city streets, café voices, boomboxes, rain, bicycles, and busses. These pieces follow John Cage in asking if ringing bells become more musical—or less—by their interaction with environmental public sounds. In Finland, Feld visited Alvi Ruonala, who is the end of the line of seven generations of legendary sleigh-bell-makers. This piece is both an alarm about the warming soundscape of the Arctic North, and a celebration of Ruonala’s sonic inventiveness.
In Kyoto, Feld visits Chion-in Temple, home to a massive 72-ton bell. On New Year’s Eve, to the accompaniment of Buddhist chant, it is rung 108 times, to signal the 108 desires to be relinquished as the year turns.
Finally, two pieces focus on how bells herald world peace. The first mixes Feld’s recording of the largest swinging bell in the world, the World Peace Bell in Kentucky, with improvisations by Iraqi oud master Rahim AlHaj, who also recites a classic Arabic poem, “Peace.” Feld also goes to Hiroshima for the 60th anniversary ringing of the August 6th peace bell, which marks the moment of detonation of the atomic bomb. His piece focuses on the interplay of the solemn bell and the vibrant cicadas in the deep silence of that moment.
AUDIO SAMPLES >
Arctic Circle Jingling
Hiroshima / The Last Sound
Iraq World Peace Bell With Rahim AlHaj
Joya-No-Kane In Kyoto
Sardinian Sheep Bells with Shepherds Traditional Song