Cities and Memory
Obsolete Sounds

November 2022

Obsolete Sounds is the world’s biggest collection of disappearing sounds and sounds that have become extinct – remixed and reimagined to create a brand new form of listening.

Sound #133 – Old Toilet Flush

Original sound recorded by: Ilias Kalisperakis
About the recording:
The sound of an old toilet flush system that is getting more and more rare to find.

It’s strange how memories and images come to mind when you listen to a supposedly unconnected field recording.

How did the recording of an old flush toilet in the Riviera Open Air cinema in Athens 37.985572,23.7335763 make me connect Mondrian, tempestuous seas, Terry Riley and the small red wooden boat that has sat on my mantelpiece for many years?

Much of my Audio Work has stories attached and I often think in very visual terms when working with sound. After some very basic experimentation, the flush morphed into what seemed like a raging wind and sea. I am also a visual artist and often when I look at the sea huge blocks of colour clash against each other, as if in an abstract painting. Many of these scenes I have painted in acrylics and a set called Mondrian in Seas are my present project.

I just imagined my little red hulled boat making its way on the Mondrian Sea. Suddenly, it’s caught in a race against time to get to safe harbour with an increasingly raging storm behind it. The little boat is tossed around in a maelstrom of colour. The chase is on, as if in a race, and towards the beam of the lighthouse beckoning the little boat to safety.

Since my sound and artwork are so closely connected, the piece tries to convey this little tale with minimalist repetition, improvisation and all in the key of C, which is my nod to Terry Riley.

Best listened through headphones and beware, the clash of colours is loud.

Artwork by Museleon based on Mondrian