Claire Todd reimagines the Sony WM-EX116 Walkman.
Created for Cities & Memory’s Obsolete Sounds project, which collects and reinvents disappearing and extinct sounds, WM-EX35 is an audio reimagining of the WM-EX116, created by Claire Todd under the moniker claro correcto, and featuring an accompanying video shot on Claire’s phone in the Scottish Borders.
The Sony WM-EX35 was just one of the many Walkmans kicking around during my teens and well into my 20’s and I never went anywhere without one. I liked observing the synchronicities in the world around me, as they played out in time to the music. To me it almost felt cinematic, which is what I wanted to portray in the musical elements of the piece. These were created using photographed images of cassette tapes that have been converted to synthesised sounds. A nod to the 80’s and early 90’s, when digital synthesisers and the popularity of the Walkman were prevalent. These sounds were manipulated, chopped and looped in order to a produce dreamy and slightly surreal soundscapes, influenced by my love both then and now, of the TV series of the 90’s, Twin Peaks. This is enhanced further by the random samples taken from an old cassette I was given, featuring an array of subjects explaining their route out of a maze and a slowed and reverberating field recording of street performers busking in Venice, 2019.
Walkmans encapsulate much coveting of my brother’s personal stereos that had better graphic equalisers and a bass boost. These were features of many a Christmas longing. The inclusion of a part sample of my late mum’s voice watching Gremlins on Christmas Day, is an homage to her dedication in making those 36 weekly payments to Freemans catalogue all those years ago and making one of my 1980’s Christmases.
Listen and watch below.
Claire Todd is a writer, artist and maker, who makes audiovisual art under the name claro correcto. Visit her website here.