Found Sound: Lilacs & Champagne

The acoustic scientists and found sound hoarders share a Lynchian clip of interwoven field recordings.

Found sound hoarders Lilacs & Champagne were an obvious choice to take part in our found sound seriesafter all, their dense, ambient music is built mostly from the intricate textures of unearthed field recordings. Describing themselves as “acoustic scientists”, they take a concentrated archivist’s ear to the world, and here they’ve taken that approach by digging out for us a five-minute recording of snippets of TV, movies and music stitched together in disorienting, off-kilter ways. Read on to find out more about the clip and about the use of found sound in the Lilacs & Champagne project in the words of producer Emil Amos, and hit play below to go on a journey of Lynchian strangeness.

Hi, Lilacs & Champagne! Can you tell us a bit about your found sound?

Emil Amos: “From time to time we draw from a huge collection of original cassette recordings I’ve made over the years that start back from around age 15…walking around town with a handheld tape recorder, talking to bums, recording clogged whirlpool drains and taping clips off the TV. That was a common ritual in the semi-religious strain of lo-fi I was brought up in during the early 90’s…sort of an imaginary cult I belonged to. I eventually ended up working in a homeless shelter for 13 years and transferred the ritual over to playing with the radio dial at work.”

“Whenever we need an unusual texture to throw in a song I can resort to these boxes of tapes that’ve built up over the years…the sound of silence in a halfway house, some loners arguing over a board game on a quiet night in a shelter or the sounds of suicidal whispering in the woods provide you with an audio tour of America… much better than just drawing from the same old Isaac Hayes breaks y’know.”

Can we expect to hear similar sounds on the new album, ‘Danish & Blue’?

Emil: “Our first record had more elements culled from these tapes, like the preacher in Nice Man and the girls that sing Anything Goes that start off that song…. or the phrase “Listener X” which was taken from a radio DJ who was getting requests from an unknown caller. My other project HolySons is about to release a record on the same day as ‘Danish & Blue’ that uses samples from those halfway house/radio dial tapes on virtually every track [‘My Only Warm Coals’ on Important Records, out on April 23rd].”

“The dialogue from the new L&C record is generally taken from late 60s deep underground cinema and Danish Porn films…really cheap, corny and degraded stuff that usually features terrible actors reciting ridiculous lines disingenuously. That became a bit of a theme we decided to drive home on ‘Danish & Blue’. There’s a certain kind of grime and wrongness that backroom films and their soundtracks exude…and I generally find that early independent/trashy cinema is consistently more beautiful and rewarding than most high-brow avant-garde film.”

Your music is built largely out of found sounds – where’s the line between curating and creating?

Emil: “L&C is specifically trying to make “songs” that have tangible verses and choruses out of pieces of sound that really have no innate progression. So you become a kind of acoustic scientist when fucking with and contradicting the original nature of the selected sounds for months on end.”

“Synchronicity ultimately conducts the destiny of how the samples are going to intersect. So the beauty of an album like this is that it ends up being the sum of the specific interactions you’ve had with recorded history after combing through it for a period of your life… seeing pieces of yourself within these lone articulations as they eventually interlock into a new form.”

Mexican Summer will release ‘Danish & Blue’ on the 23rd April 2013.