Emile Milgrim Uses the Sounds of Miami as an Instrument in Archival Feedback

Emile Milgrim (right) with the Sweat Records team.
Emile Milgrim (right) with the Sweat Records team.
Photo by Monica McGivern

"You know how a lot of people are always walking around taking pictures? I've always been that way with sound," Emile Milgrim says. In her new project, Archival Feedback, the Miami native is collecting everyday sounds she captures around Miami and mixing it into a surreal electronic groove.

"The way people can randomly take pictures with smart phones, I always did for sounds with micro-recorders and now with a smart phone," she says. "I did it for bands I played in, but I wanted to have those sounds stand on their own."

Milgrim, who's also a managing partner at Miami's beloved Sweat Records as well as the cofounder of Miami Girls Rock Camp, will get to showcase her new project next Sunday, September 13, at the TM Studio at Downtown ArtHouse. Anyone who attends the free morning brunch event will be able to grab a vinyl or cassette copy of Archival Feedback, as well as see a live performance by Milgrim.

To record the sounds, Milgrim mostly uses a binaural microphone that she mounts on her ears so the recording device can capture Miami's streets exactly from Milgrim's vantage point. Listening to her recordings in its raw form is as close as you can get to going outside without actually getting out of bed.

And in a city that never stops moving (or talking) there's no shortage of material for Milgrim. "There's a lot of crazy construction sounds around Downtown," she says. "There's also conversations, birds, and I'm combining that with the Art Day performances." 

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Of the hundreds of recordings she has completed for this project there's one that really stands out to her. "We went to the Everglades hoping to record mosquitoes and echoes in abandoned buildings. On our way out there was a loud shrill and we were trying to figure out what it was. It was an electrical box going out and there was syncopation with all this buzzing from bugs. It was a cool mix of nature and not nature."

Archival Feedback: Downtown Sounds with Emile Milgrim. 11 a.m. Sunday, September 13, at TM Studio at Downtown ArtHouse, 100 NE 11th St., Miami; 305-374-7376. Admission is free.


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