Sarah Peebles: Composer/Performer

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108: Walking Through Tokyo at the Turn of the Century | Gathering
Performance Reviews, etc | Whose Forest? | Nova Journal
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R E V I E W S
108 – Walking Through Tokyo at the Turn of the Century

  1. WholeNote magazine


  2. The Wire


  3. MusicWorks - Fall 2004 (group review)


  4. Eye Magazine


  5. All Music


  6. Urban Magazine


  7. M-la-Music


  8. Heartfelt testimonial!


  9. More at http://www.post-concrete.com



WholeNote Magazine, Toronto; www.wholenote.com
June 2006

Reviewed by ANDREW TIMAR

108 – Walking Through Tokyo at the Turn of the Century
Sarah Peebles

Post-concrète  post-004 (www.post-concrete.com)

Toronto-based composer and soundscape artist Sarah Peebles has had a long-term involvement with Japanese culture. From December 1999 to January 2000, she traveled around Tokyo recording sounds heard in numerous public spaces. On her journey, we hear Japanese voices, pop-musical and machine sounds on the sidewalks, train platforms, video arcades, vending machines, a temple graveyard, a judo club, and in those so idiosyncratic of Japanese institutions, the pachinko parlors.

The 11 tracks on this CD present a sort of sonic film or video, which to my ears straddles the documentary goals of a straightforward field recording and a highly processed and structured musical artifact such as what one might find in classical musique concrète of the school pioneered by Pierre Henry and Karlheinz Stockhausen.

Sarah Peebles has chosen this middle ground by maintaining the timbral and pitch aspects of the street soundscape of this highly urbanized Asian city. She does this by compressing (editing) and selectively superimposing sonic events in an imaginative and sensitive fashion. I should mention however, for a brief section in track 11 Epilogue, Peebles does present sonically-processed train whistles and pachinko sounds in an effectively other-worldly coda.

As for the sounds themselves, they range from the aggressive high-pitched steel waterfall in Pachinko (Track 6), to the peaceful tolling of the New Year’s bell in the temple graveyard in the following track. After finishing this CD, it feels like I’ve just returned from a trip to Tokyo - but without the jetlag.

Andrew Timar

Concert Note: A video version of Sarah Peebles “Walking through Tokyo” will be one of the free events presented during the SoundaXis Festival in the first 11 days of June. The presentation takes place on Saturday June 10 at 11:00 at the Goethe Institut.

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The Wire
January 2006; issue 263

Reviewed by ALAN CUMMINGS

108 – Walking Through Tokyo at the Turn of the Century
Post-concrète

Memories of the urban space of Tokyo are deeply rooted in the city's initially overwhelming aural ambience. Rather than smell or look, it is the distinctive way the city sounds that can bring prickles of nostalgia to ex-residents. Toronto based composer Sarah Peebles captures some of the kaleidoscopic richness of the aural environment on her reissued 108 – Walking Through Tokyo At The Turn Of The Century (Post Concrète CD) Peebles recorded a week's worth of journeys across the city in late December 1999. While she is intensely aware of the cyclical and periodic rhythms that underlie the city's sounds, this is very much the sound of a single season and a single moment in time, as fast food joints hawk millennium fries and a rare Christian evangelist threatens commuters with fire and brimstone.

Peebles's journeys took her east from the youthful, neon skyscrapers of Shinjuka to the older, downtown areas of Nippori and Ueno. The sound profile thus moves from the garishly synthetic textures of hectoring jingles from electrical shops and the pop-techno metallic cascades of pachinko parlours to the more humanly grounded rhythms of market hawkers, kendo practice at dawn and a temple bell chiming 108 times to mark New Year.

Between each evocatice street scene, Peebles masterfully creates a palpable sense of the joy of motion through urban spaces – the solid pnematic hiss of the doors on the JR trains, station jingles and the learned nasal twang of a streetcar conductor. Christie Pearson's street photos on the enhances CD add another dimension to an exquisitely sequenced piece of audio verité.

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Eye Magazine
Toronto 11.14.02

Reviewed by MIKE DOHERTY (MDO)

Sarah Peebles

108 – Walking Through Tokyo at the Turn of the Century
Post-concrète

On the eve of the year 2000, Toronto composer and sound artist Peebles found herself documenting her walks through Tokyo; 108 refers to the number of times temple bells are rung to celebrate the new year. She has spliced together an audio travelogue full of street vendors, traffic noises, ambient dance-pop and video games, fashioning art out of bustle. What could emerge as self-indulgent noise is instead an absorbing episodic sound collage, recalling a more cohesive version of one of Glenn Gould's 1960s radio documentaries.

Sarah Peebles performs with David Toop, Nilan Perara and Darren Copeland at The Annex Theatre Nov. 16.

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All Music
Fall 2002
www.allmusic.com

Reviewed by François Couture

108 – Walking Through Tokyo at the Turn of the Century

108 is the number of temptations that can lead Man to sin, according to Buddhism. Every New Year's eve at the stroke of midnight, temple bells sound 108 times to expurgate our souls for the year to come. This ritual occupies the middle part in Sarah Peebles' turn-of-the-millennium walk through Tokyo neighborhoods. The American-born, now Canadian composer has studied Japanese music for years. When it comes to life in Tokyo, she still has the ears and eyes of an outsider, although she has long overcome the level of the tourist. Recorded between December 1999 and January 2000, this album takes us on a personal tour of the city inspired by R. Murray Schafer's soundwalks of the 70s. A street preacher greets us, his voice slowly drowned by the sounds of the street as Peebles walks away from his position. Sonic travelling in the subway turns up a collection of chimes, jingles and miscellaneous traces of technology. At the arcade, the microphone picks up sonic chaos while Sheena Ringo's hit "Kokode Kiss Shite" is heard on the radio. "New Year's Bells" constitute the sole moment of relative calm, before we visit street merchants. For the "Epilogue," the artist plays around withsome of her sounds, processing them for the first time to recap. This soundworld comes to us mediated by Peebles' decisions when recording and later editing. She presents a self-contained universe tailored to nourish the listener's imagination while documenting daily life in one of the busiest, noisiest cities of the world. The enhanced portion of the CD includes liner notes and a set of 40 photographs of Tokyo by Christie Pearson.
François Couture, 2002 - CD Post-Concrete post-004

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Urban Magazine
Belgium - December, '02
http://www.urbanmag.be/

Reviewed by Peter Wullen

(non-English)

108 ­ Walking Through Tokyo van Sarah Peebles
(Post-Concrete 004)

Sarah Peebles is een Canadese componiste, die onlangs Insect Groove uitbracht op het CalifornischeCycling74. Insect Groove was een collectie van natuur- en insectengeluiden, traditionele Oosterseintrumenten (vooral shô en komungo, pw) en computergegeneerde klanken. Het contrast met hetmultimediaproject 108 ­ Walking Through Tokyo is echter groot! Hier bewandelt ze immers andere wegen. De cdwerd opgenomen tijdens een trip naar Tokyo tussen december '99 en begin januari 2000. 11 onbewerktegeluidsfragmenten proberen de sfeer van de Japanse hoofdstad te vatten omstreeks de millenniumwissel. De geluidsfragmenten zijn veelal beklemmend en ontregelend en schetsen het weinig verheffende maar bijzonder realistische beeld van een miljoenenmetropool in de wurggreep van het laatkapitalisme en de moderniteit. En dat is niet fraai! Van de groezelige kreten van een predikant aan de zuidingang van het Shinjuku station tot de krijsende treinen op de Sobu-lijn en de Pachinko-wandvideospelletjes in de Yotsuya buurt. Het moreel verval is overal hoorbaar, voelbaar en aanwezig. Het enige rustpunt op het album zijn de klokken aan de Nishi Nippori. 108 slagen - de Japanners tellen er evenveel als vleselijke lusten - leiden even na middernacht het begin in van het nieuwe millenium. Als je goed luistert, hoor je hier en daar toch nog de hartslag van het oude Japan doorheen het geroezemoes en het afgrijselijke gekrijs en lawaai. 108 ­ Walking Through Tokyo' bevat een multimediabijlage met 40 mooie foto's van Christie Pearson en een essay van Hiroshi Yoshimura.

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Heartfelt testimonials!

"It made me remember the feel of my nylons, working in a Shinjuku office many years ago."
— anonymous Japanese listener

“My fourteen year old son has unequivocably declared it is ‘cool’. In fact, he was so excited than he ran over to me immediately and demanded where it came from and has since absconded with it to let his music teacher (the music teacher is also ‘cool’) to listen to it. The music teacher also thought it was ‘cool’, which of course is really ‘cool’”
— Deirdre Tanaka, Toronto

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Reviews of: Cinnamon Sphere | Hover | Insect Groove | Amber CD
108: Walking Through Tokyo at the Turn of the Century | Gathering
Performance Reviews, etc | Whose Forest? | Nova Journal
Back to Main Reviews Page

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