Microdot - Radio Al Barsha Version is the result of a long-distance collaboration between Simon Coates, Zahra Jewanjee and UK band The United Knot (Nigel Bryant, Matt Donovan).
Having set ourselves a brief of creating an original piece of sound art using sound files sent over distance, we received an MP3s: The United Knot's track entitled Microdot. Taking its name from the Al Barsha area of Dubai where we have a studio, and using the track as the foundation for the piece, we decided to construct a fictional local radio broadcast made up of field sounds recorded by us in Dubai.
So, alongside digitally-treated individual tracks from Microdot, we added - amongst others - the noise from the diesel engine of an abra (abras are the water taxis that cross Dubai creek), interior sounds from a Jainist restaurant in Satwa, Lebanese music coming from a building site, transistor radio, a conversation recorded outside the Sikh temple in Bur Dubai and the music that introduced the news in the 1980s on PTV (the national Pakistan television station).
Zahra Jewanjee and Simon Coates are two artists living and working in Dubai. The sound art pieces they make together are experiments in recording phenomenological absurdities and hyper-realities. The results embrace a form of societal post-existentialism. In musician-based works, the pieces that Jewanjee and Coates make, use pre-made forms (instruments, meters, time and timing) as a spring board from which to weave their own patterns of sound. The studio-based works are more acousmatic and are therefore exercises in communicating via sounds that express primal emotions. In the field sound-based pieces, the pair play what starts as a pragmatic voyeuristic role, simply stealing sounds from a variety of civic sources that later become work tools in the studio.