Belle Chen is a London-based Australian pianist. Described by Brian Eno as “original and provocative”, Chen spoke to Limelight ahead of Global Soundscapes, which will see her perform the works of Ravel, Mompou, Poulenc, Scarlatti, Fazil Say, and Piazzolla amidst manipulated field recordings and improvisation in collaboration with perfumer Nadjib Achaibou and guest musicians.
When did you begin exploring the idea of recreating locations through music and sound?
I began experimenting with integrating soundscapes with classical music in London around 2013. I began doing this for a personal reason. At the time, I wasn’t sure whether I was able to stay in London. I had grown very fond of the city, and I wished to take this part of my life experience with me so that I can remember the ‘feeling’ wherever I may end up being.
The choice to work with captured sound came from a period of time when I would walk extensively throughout London on foot. I noticed that London is a very sonically vibrant place, so one day I decided to turn on the voice memo on my phone while walking. Upon listening back, I began noticing the musicality of ‘everyday sounds’ that are often overlooked due to the cocktail party effect – the...