A recent-release three-inch, fifteen-mins-plus CD-R (Cathnor Recordings Vignettes Series CV006) in a colour-printed-inside-and-out folded card cover as broad as but a little shorter than a B format paperback, the whole encased in a protective thin plastic outer. Prestwich, Manchester sound artist Lee Patterson's fascination with listening to breakfast cooking led to his experimenting with attaching tie-clip microphones to a pan's rim, recording an egg frying and then - following the crescendo of sound - the cooling-down process. For this second egg recording, dated 15th March '05, he used a pair of cheap electret-condenser mics, the only ones which would withstand the intense heat. The close-up recording revealed a soundworld Patterson wouldn't have managed to encounter for safety and practicality reasons.
A little traffic noise intrudes, which seems to be enough of a source of irritation to warrant a mention by Patterson (who lives near a main road and a motorway junction) - but to this listener that's fine, all a part of the whole : presumably everything could have been set up in a more clinical, soundproofed studio environment... but much of the charm of this compelling piece resides in the domestic circumstances of its making, the lovely accessibility of that, the suggestion of try-this-at-home (but carefully).
Patterson has described how, although the mundanity of the situation might distract some listeners, he was excited to discover the rewards of paying very close attention to what was happening sonically - "...this recording easily transcends its origins...". He writes that he was "astounded by the level and the density of sonic activity within this 'sound-scape in a pan'". It'd be quite easy to dismiss this disc as a bit of a joke, something perhaps suited to an extract being broadcast on Dr. Demento's show, but its existence forces one to reconsider soundscape recordings, that heirarchy in which certain subjects - melting ice, for instance - are deemed as being more worthy of consideration, documentation; more serious.
I don't think the egg depicted on the cover, with its golden yolk and bubbling-up white, is the egg, unless designer Olaf Oxleay was present in Patterson's kitchen... Initial copies come with a special printed fried egg label, which reminds me of that of the Concord company (http://www.ranwell.co.uk/lt_pigeon/images/lt_pigeon/con008a.jpg) which released material by the great Stavely Makepeace.
David Toop has been in online discussion with Lee Patterson regarding the former's great liking for "what happens when you plunge a very hot frying pan into cold water" - which could make a fantastic sequel piece to this disc.
Link : http://www.cathnor.com/Cathnor_New_CV006.html. The CD is £6 inclusive.
Lee Patterson : http://www.myspace.com/therealleepatterson; and http://www.thewire.co.uk/articles/2378/.