Photos by Nigel Craig
“Cherry Beach is located at the end of a small, artificially created peninsula on which various heavy industrial facilities and toxic no-man’s lands decay. The area is infamous as a site out of public sight for police to engage in ‘off the record’ activities. Our location was within a complex of vacant waste oil storage facilities on Cherry Beach. While recording on the night of June 5th, 2004, we were forced to abandon our equipment after discerning that violent activities were taking place in one of the seemingly abandoned structures nearby. We returned at dawn to retrieve our equipment, which we were able to do successfully, only to be pursued out of the area and down the beach by two unidentified men. Fortunately we escaped unharmed, with our recordings intact. Since this time the entire compound and all of its reverberant structures have been demolished, leaving only an empty lot. The material presented here has been selected from two days of recording on site, but otherwise left untreated and unprocessed.”
– Joda Clément/Nigel Craig, November 2006


Cherry Beach Project – Silo 11 (sold out from Mystery Sea)

Unprocessed acoustic recordings by Joda Clément & Nigel Craig using wine glasses, empty bottles and on site materials, from the night of June 5th, 2004 inside an abandoned waste oil storage facility on Cherry Beach, Toronto.


THE WIRE # 278 – Outer Limits | Jim Haynes
Cherry Beach is located in a lakefront region of Toronto that had once been a heavily utilised industrial zone. When the area was abandoned and left to a toxic fate, it also developed an unsavoury reputation as a site for the police to intimidate homeless and drunk denizens. Despite the warning signs, Canadian sound artists Joda Clément and Nigel Craig were attracted by the decayed resonance of the vacant buildings on Cherry Beach back in 2004. Armed with branches, empty bottles, wine glasses and whatever else was lying around, the two surreptitiously recorded a quiet ritual of acoustic activities. Closely responding to the natural reverb of the cavernous metal architecture, Clément and Craig emerged with a wonderful set of slow progressing bellows, sweeping gestures and protracted chimes. More often than not, the Cherry Beach Project offers a far more mysterious and evocative atmosphere than the abandoned building strategies of the celebrated Japanese improvisor Kiyoharu Kuwayama.

Joda Clément and Nigel Craig had a dangerous experience in Cherry Beach, an isolated place in an artificial peninsula “on which various heavy industrial facilities and toxic no man’s lands decay”. After realizing the recordings heard here – which include nocturnal stillness, metallic scraping, insufflations into bottles, dragged objects and breathtakingly evocative distant airplanes – they had to escape after becoming aware of ongoing “violent activities” in one of the nearby structures. Even after having rescued their equipment in the early hours of the morning, Clément and Craig were fronted by two unknowns who expelled them from the area. Knowing this story is important for a better appreciation of these untreated, unprocessed sounds, which seem to represent the voices and the whispers of hidden presences advising the two comrades to leave the place before it’s too late. The connection between the raw harmonics of the metals and the passing planes is absolutely intriguing, the threatening reverberant thuds heard in the fifth section letting even the listeners at home raise their heads in alerted preoccupation. Overall, an enigmatically fascinating piece of suburban sound art.

Exclusive photographs, recordings and writing related to the Cherry Beach Project were also featured as an installation at the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art in 2010 for the exhibit Empire of Dreams: Phenomenology of the Built Environment.



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