‘Cobblestones & Kitchari’, may give us a unique insight into the relationship between recorded sound, memory, and identity, with regard to personal rituals of listening and coping with grief. Keightley and Pickering argue that ‘what is remembered changes, and what is experienced changes what is remembered.’ (Keightley and Pickering, 2006). In this conception, creating memory around acts of listening is a dynamic, non-generic and labile process, especially when connected to the emotion of a traumatic event. The memory of a song then is the merging of spaces, places and objects, it is skewed repetition, it is voices unremembered, fragile and moving, timbres rather than words, one-sided conversation, echoes and the liminal intersections of dreams, perception, reality and emotion, as Connor reminds us ‘we hear…the event of the thing, not the thing itself.’ (Connor, 2001) 'Cobblestones & Kitchari' was written over several years just after my father passed away in Jan 2013. All the source material and compositional choices on the record are related to him and his sonic memories. Each track constitutes a personal ritual of remembrance, where the manipulations of recorded sound are used to co-produce a memory of sound which tries to locate a moment of listening but is aware of its fleeting nature. These sonic memories coalesce around words, move across worlds and drift as people do, into and out of our senses, becoming either absent or present or sometimes both. The sounds add to the layers of identity that we accrue, over time, they become tangled into the fabric of who we are and therefore inform the rituals of our everyday lives.
Paul Natraj holds a practice-led PhD in Sound Studies from the University of Sussex. The work, ‘You Sound Like a Broken Record’, was voted in the top ten experimental albums of the year by 'A Closer Listen' magazine 2018. His work explores musical materiality, memory, the personal stories attached to music, and how our relationship with listening and the listened to, changes over time. His work thinks about the rhizomatic connectivity of music and how the dialogue between times, places and spaces open fractures through which to listen differently to the everyday. He has exhibited internationally and had a solo show at Prism Contemporary, Blackburn. He has published articles in ‘The Routledge Companion to Sound Studies’ and ‘The Bloomsbury Handbook of Sonic Methodologies’. He is a regular contributor to the online music magazine, Inverted Audio and has written for Soundest fanzine. His sound works have been featured on BBC Radio 3’s Late Junction, Resonance Extra, Radiophrenia, Berlin Community Radio, Threads Radio, NTS, and The Wire’s Adventures in Sound and Music.