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Occasional posts on subjects including field recording, London history and literature, other websites worth looking at, articles in the press, and news of sound-related events.

10 September 2010

Coming up: the LSS at Sound:Site and on BBC World Service

COMING UP ON Saturday 2nd October is the Sound:Site sonic art festival. In their own words, it’ll consist of:

Talks and demonstrations exploring the Internet as a context for making and showing artwork, for sharing sounds, bringing communities together, and curating sonic experiences. Sound:Site brings together a set of exciting projects from in and around the Sound Art community, framing contemporary practice and emerging online/offline possibilities.

One segment of Sound:Site will be given over to nine five-minute presentations by people running web-based sound projects, and they’ve invited me to go along and hold forth about the London Sound Survey as part of that. The five-minute format sounds ideal, and I’m really looking forward to meeting fellow sound fanatics on the day. Do come up and say hello if you’re going along.

Last Saturday I was interviewed at Bush House by Wang Fei of the BBC World Service. He’s going to be using some recordings from the London Sound Survey as part of the popular Learning English series for Chinese speakers. Earlier in the day we’d gone around recording some more sounds for the program, starting at St James’s Park, where all sorts of bells began chiming at nine o’clock:


There was a heap of intrusive noise there, including someone dawdling nearby and an appearance of one of those dreaded wheeled suitcases. It was largely got rid of thanks to extensive spectral cleaning in Izotope RX, but it’s not good to rely on reconstructive techniques like that. Better to make a decent recording in the first place.

In the afternoon I came across a busker playing Schubert’s Ave Maria on a trumpet at the junction of Euston Road and Tottenham Court Road. He’d found a spot on a traffic island with vehicles rushing in and out of the underpass below. It seemed a bleak and unusual location, accentuated by the melancholy sound of his music:


A puzzle for grammarians: in the first draft, I wrote “on the Euston Road”. Named roads sometimes attract the definite article, for example: They like it up the Old Kent Road. But named streets never have a ‘the’ at the beginning. No-one says: Christmas shopping’s murder along the Oxford Street. Why the difference?

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