“You’re Just a Small Town in Derby” is cut together from a recording made at Coventry City F.C. versus Nottingham Forest in April 2005. This was one of a series of recordings carried out at Coventry’s Highfield Road that season. These recordings were later catalogued and edited as part of “My Only City: The Sounds of the West Terrace”. Once completed, some 500 minutes of edited recordings will be made available through a searchable, online database (to be hosted at myonlycity.net).
The vocalisations, song and chant performed at football matches, are commonly referred to in the English language as ‘noise’. As if these performances were to have no structure, no language, no intention to communicate. I was interested, through straight, documentary sound recording and simple editing, in subtly exploring the syntax of football crowd vocalisation, and revealing a certain complexity to these performances.
The material for this piece was recorded using binaural microphones, which are designed to give a very evocative sense of space when listened using headphones.
Research and development of “My Only City” was supported by the Arts Council England and PVA MediaLab.
Duncan Whitley studied BA Hons Fine Art at Kingston University (UK) from 1996 to 1999, where he worked almost exclusively with sound installation.
In the following years his work continued with a focus on site-specific interventions, producing work in both sanctioned art spaces and ‘non-art spaces’ (from domestic environments, to derelict flats, to Church of England churches).
From 2004 his practice shifted towards stereo and multichannel ‘field recording’, developing a significant archive of project-specific phonographic studies. His sound recording work documents the ritual of social events: the highly formalised Semana Santa processions in Seville; football spectatorship across different tiers of the British football league; the controlled demolition of high-rise flats in cities around England and Scotland.