Tag Archives: BR FM


All six episodes of ‘Press your Ear to the Rail’ & All 4 episodes of the “Don’t tickle me…Punch” (a radio programme piece of sound art) are all available as podcasts

All six episodes of ‘Press your Ear to the Rail’ (a radio programme piece of sound art) Art Transmission #1 by sound artist Jim Whelton working with the Sittingbourne and Kemsley Light Railway are all available at http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLVQqwRHcZFYCgnUg1xAgmugchZNvzirif And All 4 episodes of the podcast  “Don’t tickle me…Punch” (a radio programme piece of sound art) Art Transmission #2 By sound artist Jane Pitt & the Minster golden gloves boxing club are all available at http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLVQqwRHcZFYAivq1jCAaH4AXr2vmy3wwa

upcoming episodes of ‘Press your Ear to the Rail’ By sound artist Jim

upcoming episodes of ‘Press your Ear to the Rail’  By sound artist Jim 

Episode Three: Metals – for 21/04/14 will predominantly feature the metallic sounds that abound in the SKLR environs.

Episode Four: The Event – for 28/04/14 will feature a lengthy tale about the challenges of transporting conceptual art  on a light railway network.

Episode Five: Wildlife – for 05/05/14 will explore the habitat (including sections of the track and Milton Creek) and cast an eye over some of the local difficulties facing the SKLR and the spirited way the volunteers respond.

all episodes  will be aired after 8:00pm on BR FM Bridge Radio 95.6fm in swale and live online at http://www.brfm.net or http://tunein.com/radio/BRFM-956-s92168/ and as a podcast  after @ https://arttransmissionradioexperiment.wordpress.com/sound-art-podcasts/jim-whelton-art-transmission-1-sklr-press-your-ear-to-the-rail/



podcast Art Transmission #1 Sittingbourne and Kemsley Light Railway ‘Press your Ear to the Rail’ first episode ‘Steam’ By sound artist Jim Whelton

podcast Art Transmission #1 Sittingbourne and Kemsley Light Railway ‘Press your Ear to the Rail’ first episode ‘Steam’ By sound artist Jim Whelton. Art Transmission is a project to make new sound art for the airwaves on BRFM Bridge radio through the Daniel Monday Night Community Show
Direct link you tube http://youtu.be/fnJlIknZsDw
& getmedia http://www.getmedia.org.uk/arts/art-transmission-1-sittingbourne-kemsley-light-railway-press-ear-rail-first-episode-steam-sound-artist-jim-whelton/

Kate Chapman’s blog post about the weekend.

I’m not very good with keys – so when I arrived at the Medway Road allotments in Sheerness on Saturday afternoon, I was convinced I’d brought the wrong set. I couldn’t get any of them to work in the padlock. Perhaps I’d brought the keys for my allotment back home in Nottingham by mistake.

After a phone call home and a deep breath I went back to the padlock and tried a few more times. I opened the gate and my panic subsided. It just takes patience – patience is a virtue – patience is a virtue which I seem to have in small quantities.

It strikes me that patience is something that good allotmenteers have plenty of – patience and faith. Looking at the rotated plots of heavy clay with the tops of tiny onions poking through, I was impressed at the patience and faith of experienced gardeners.

I needed a good dose of these myself. I was getting worried that I wasn’t explaning my idea for the art transmission project very well to the allotmenteers. Did it sound like pretentious nonsense, do they think I’m some kind of journalist, will I be able to make it work?

I’ve discovered that the only way to keep my doubting heart at bay – is to stop thinking and start doing. On Saturday afternoon , even though the sun was shining, the allotments were quiet. I had forgotten about the Grand National…………..

I decided to take a simple route and start with an easy question. I’d ask people if I could record what they were doing and then see if that would lead into a conversation about what they hear when they’re on the allotment and what the sounds mean to them.

I spotted a woman I hadn’t met before doing some digging so I asked her if I could record her. She agreed quite readily. I pointed the microphone at her spade and off she went. It’s hard work – the earth is heavy. This was more than just digging – she had to dig out big clumps, set it down, chop them up with her spade and then put it back into the bed. All for this for spuds.Good old spuds. “Good for the bingo wings too!” she assured me.

She told me that she’s a carer, and the allotment is her way of getting away from it all for a while. She liked the sound of the birds. She didn’t know anything about them. She just liked to hear them.

After that I wandered around in the sunshine, recorded the birds and the resident cockerel who was in fine voice. I headed to the Nursery Close allotments and recorded Dave’s bees. I was so mesmerised by the sound that came through my headphones as I recorded them that I forgot that bees might sting.  It was like entering another world, eavesdropping on a conversation in a language I couldn’t understand.

Back at Medway Road I found Steve hacking away at the ground on his plot in preparation for rotivation and then a spot of spud planting. As I approached him across the site, it struck me that the image of him leaning over, chopping into the earth with so much effort, is an image as ancient as mankind. The sound was intense too – his physical effort, the pause as he swung the cutting tool above his head and then brought it down onto the hard ground with a deadening thud. I recorded him for a whie and then he wanted me to have a go – so we agreed that he would record me doing it. At first I was barely tickling the surface of the ground – but I eventually got a bit of a technique going. After a few feet of ground I was exhausted. We stopped and looked at all the ground he still had to cover.  Rather him than me.

After some rotivator recording for the rotivator symphony I’m planning, I chatted to Mr Poppy. Peter Poppy is 87 and he’s lived in Sheerness all his life. He has many stories to tell.  He showed me around his allotment. He’s planted 100s of onions – he likes them baked with a Sunday roast. When he was five he could drive a horse and cart. He grew up delivering coal across Sheppey until trucks and vans took over from horse power. This still pains him and when he talks about it, it seems as though it happened only yesterday. He’s a horse lover. He talks about the horses he had as if they were members of his family.

In spite of all this recording, I still unsure about what it is I’m making. People suggest more sound for me to record and they help me to do it: kettle boiling, tea making, hoeing, mowing, potato planting, the polytunnels flapping in the wind, watering seeds in the greenhouse, filling a watering can, distant voices chatting. Where it all leads I’m still not quite sure but with a little patience and faith I think green shoots will start to show.

post by sound artist Kate Chapman



Jane Pitt Minster Golden Gloves – Blog 2“Don’t tickle me…Punch”

“Don’t tickle me…Punch”

It’s easy to forget the outside world when I’m at Minster Golden Gloves Club.  Everyone is there for the training, all activity and even the chat is mostly about boxing – total focus.  There’s still a great feeling of inclusion.  Sometimes I’m so engrossed in listening and recording the sounds I don’t always hear when one of the trainers teases me or a young boxer suddenly becomes aware of his language, so a tuneful serenade by a trainer directly into the mic is a gentle surprise!

After weeks of focusing on particular sounds and recording with a shotgun mic I’ve switched to using a contact mic, partly as a way to seperate the general ambient racket from the sounds directly related to boxing; but also because I’m interested in finding the sounds we can’t hear directly with our ears through the air, the hidden sounds.  I also like the synchronicity of recording a contact sport with a contact mic..!

The club building is built around a central stucture of steel girders with a grid bolted on for hanging the punch bags off.  By placing a contact mic on various parts of the steel structure I can record the screech and squeak of the chains that suspend the punch bags allowing them to swing freely, as well as the impact, rhythm and tempo of boxers training on them.  There are sounds more deeply submerged under the clammer and clang of punchbags which I’ve found by clamping the mic to the floor of the ring itself.  The base of the ring acts like a sound box, the contact mic picking up the tup and whisp of deft moves, split second timing footwork, hushed feints and sharp thwaps as a glove finds it mark.

Because my contact mic records in mono I’ve taken to leaving my headphones off one ear, this has the advantage of allowing me to hear the trainers’ narrative as they motivate, cajole and push the boxers limits.  A supportive stream of instruction, keeping up the boxers rhythm, imprinting the moves into their body’s physical memory, as each boxer develops their style and heart.  Top quote so far is “Don’t tickle me…Punch” .  I’ve been searching for a title, this is the top contender..

post by sound artist Jane Pitt

Art Transmissions part 1 Press your Ear to the Rail on BRFM 95.6

Press your Ear to the Rail

Art Transmissions part 1

A Community Radio broadcast with a twist.

BRFM the community radio station from the Isle of Sheppey has embarked on a unique project to air new broadcasts by three local community groups who have been working with artists to capture the individual sounds of the groups.

Working with arts organisation FrancisKnight, ‘Press your Ear to the Rail is the first of the Art Transmissions, which features the Sittingbourne and Kemsley Light Railway and sound artist Jim Whelton.  Jim has immersed himself into the daily routines and lives of the volunteers as they go about restoring and maintaining the working railway.

Jim has explored the acoustics of the yard and recorded a wealth of anecdotes and technical detail from the volunteers. From the throaty growl of the diesel engines ticking over, to the gentle chug of steam power, listen to the evocative sounds that brim with meaning and memory on the Daniel Nash, Arts and Community Show from Monday 7th April between 7 & 10pm.

Karen Day, BRFM Station Manager, said: “This project has involved and enabled local community groups to work with BRFM. Similar projects have been undertaken and then played on air.  This project has been designed specifically for radio and BRFM are proud to be the station to air it.  The Community Media Association (CMA) has been very pleased with the progress and is being kept updated throughout by Daniel Nash (Community Liaison Coordinator / BRFM Presenter).  It is very exciting to be a part of a project recording social history as it is hoped it will be shared with the CMA and then archived in the British Library when it’s completed.”

BRFM 95.6 is a Community Radio station based in Minster-On-Sea, on the Isle of Sheppey, Kent, which provides a wide range of music, news and local information, traffic & travel. BRFM broadcasts 24 hours a day 7 days a week and is run by passionate and hard working group of volunteers.

Daniel Nash is an artist and presenter on The Daniel Monday Night Community Show that is aired on BRFM 95.6 every Monday 7-10pm. Since launching his show in November 2006 he has interviewed a wide range of guests with a focus on the arts in Swale.

FrancisKnight is an independent arts consultancy based in Maidstone, Kent. Through the arts they offer positive experiences and new ideas that inspire vibrant communities and places delivering projects in north Kent and across the southeast. For more information please visit http://www.francisknight.co.uk

Art Transmission is funded by Ideas Test, (Creative People and Places: Swale & Medway), an action research programme to find new routes into creativity and the arts, embedded with and led by local people.

Background on Jim Whelton

Art Transmission #1

Jim Whelton is an audio artist and sound designer. Over the last fifteen years he has produced experimental radio shows and written original scripts for Resonance104.4 FM, ORF Austria, CKLN, Toronto, Dutch National Radio, Radio Corax Halle, Sao Paolo Biennale and for various internet radio stations.

A number of his sound and musical pieces have formed part of interactive displays in the Tate Modern, Science Museum, National Horticultural Museum, National Trust of Scotland and most recently for the new Mary Rose Museum in Portsmouth. He can also be found performing live experimental music and making short films when time permits.

The Sittingbourne & Kemsley Light Railway operates over almost two miles of the original main line from Sittingbourne Viaduct station to Kemsley Down Station and crosses one of the first and longest reinforced concrete viaducts in the world. The line was formerly owned by Bowater papermaking and was used to carry raw materials and finished products between the company’s two mills and Ridham Dock. This steam railway is run entirely by volunteers who work together to keep the service operating and open to the public between April – December each year.

For Art Transmission #1 Jim is exploring the acoustic spaces within the yard. He has also recorded a wealth of anecdotes and technical detail from the volunteers and will use the station tannoy system to produce some surreal station announcements.

For further information contact Louise Francis at FrancisKnight on 07956 437242

podcast An update from Jane Pitt

podcast http://youtu.be/tWavZmdXhiM An update from Jane Pitt 1 of 3 sound artist for Art Transmission, Jane is working with the Minster golden gloves Amateur boxing club. on at BRFM Bridge radiothe Daniel Monday Night Community Show at BRFM Bridge radio

podcast Kate Chapman

podcast http://youtu.be/oB-0oaY96Dk Kate Chapman sound artist who is working with The Sheppey Horticultural Society on the Daniel Monday night community show at BRFM Bridge radio

Jim’s tenth visit to SKLR 12.02.14

Location interview with Alex from the coach and wagon department. He really
knows his stuff. We learn how SKLR carriages are repaired and restored ­ or
even built from the ground up. On site, there are enough coaches and wagons
to fill an infinitely rolling level crossing dream where the train never
ends. Mind you, if you told a Freudian psychologist you were having such
dreams they’d probably inform you that your unconscious is trying to resolve
a conflict between your desire to travel second class (super-ego) when
you’ve been handed a first class ticket (the id).

As you stroll through the yard you encounter passenger coaches decked out in
the Bowater company’s rolling stock livery. The exteriors are a confident
cheery green while the interiors are split at waist height by a saucy
caramel above and a deep nut brown below. Behind, on rise that borders the
vast modern paper mill, sharp faced daffodils poke out from the banks,
shaking their trumpets noiselessly in the wind.
Further on, toward the margins of the SKLR land, in an area reminiscent of
the forbidden zone in Tarkovsky’s ‘Stalker’, you find coaches bearing
Chattenden and Upnor logos. These originated from the military railway in
the Hoo, the marshy alluvial spur that separates the Thames from the Medway.
These de-militarised veterans still stand defiantly to attention though
they’ve long passed out on their last parade.
In among flat beds loaded with ruddy iron junk, clay and coal hoppers that
invite you to leap in and yell at the top of your voice. One is filled with
rolls of barbed wire, the spaghetti of security. Walking back to the
business end of the site, opposite the platform, are a row of wagons with
rusty ends loaded with the ballast and sleepers used to maintain the track.
Close to these are my two favourites – the recycled wood wagon and the fire
engine. The former has sides that look charred and burnt, as if it’s
survived a ride through a fiery torment. Close inspection suggests the
‘roasted alive look’ could just be the effect of the peeling paint. The fire
wagon is a child’s toy scaled up to life-size.  Impossibly red and festooned
with hoses and buckets. It waits patiently for a call to action. Despite its
comical looks, it’s no mere show piece. Last year it was raced down the line
to tackle a raging brush fire. In the heat of summer, dried reeds that cover
the marsh present the perfect tinder.

post by sound artist Jim Whelton

podcast Paul Best from The Sittingbourne and Kemsley Light Railway

podcast  http://youtu.be/YEUPjZDGcoc Paul Best from The Sittingbourne and Kemsley Light Railway on the Daniel Monday night community show at BRFM Bridge radio