Australian Sound Artist

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Urban London 2013: Sonic postcards L01-L03

:: L03 - London 28th May 2013. Skaters @ Southbank Skatepark ::

I have started gathering sounds for the 'Urban London 2013' collection. These will be posted on Freesound for you to access/comment as you wish. I will also be adding them here as Sonic Postcards.

Recording Technical Specifications are:
Recording device: Zoom H2n
Microphone: Rode NT4 (stereo)
London, May 2013

The recordings sound best on headphones with some beautiful movements from left to right in the Skatepark recordings (above) and again, along the Regents Canal (directly below).

:: L02 - London 25th May 2013. Peering through trees to Regents Canal below ::

The recording, 'Near Festival, by the canal', and 'Festival Inner' both feature the sounds of a festival in Victoria Park that started at about 11am that day. The former, was recorded at a position along the canal whereby the distant sounds of the music from the festival would come and go, between audible and inaudible as the wind would permit. The volume fluctuations are completely natural. Recording was done at a flat input level. The latter was recorded within the festival grounds.

:: L01 - London 25th May 2013. On the way to Festival @ Victoria Park, along Regents Canal ::


I haven't consciously recorded the sounds of a city for years and I was surprised at the inner conflict I had in doing so. Just to be clear - I have recorded the sounds of markets, machinery, live improvisations at night in inner city buildings and trains passing overhead as I am tucked underneath their rolling guts - but to stand in the thick of it, in the middle of the day as traffic and sirens rise to a level that twinges your ears is quite another matter...
- and I didn't really even do that - I still subconsciously discovered pockets of the city that were not completely sonically dominated by the sounds of traffic. 

But who can ignore it? I am standing there, at the edge of the Thames surrounded by swarms of tourists and weekenders and there is not a living critter apart from us, to be seen bar one - a solitary Canada Goose with only one leg remaining, standing remarkably close (too close for his own safety) to a young family who are exploring the shoreline. It was an experience that I can't shake. It's feathers were dirty and uneven and it was obviously tired and not well fed. It wasn't scared of the people only a few meters away - perhaps it's wariness was not as strong as its reasons for watching them. It stood there unmoving, staring at them with a stubborn desperation - I assume it was hoping for food. 

Please don't think I'm particularly targeting London with these thoughts - in any big city you'll find the small critters paying the price of our developed urbanscape. It was a moment of confrontation as I stood there with my microphone, watching this quiet tragedy run its course. I put the microphone down and walked away.