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.

12 October 2010

Some overdue shout-outs from the Sound:Site weekend

SATURDAY BEFORE LAST I went along by invitation to the Sound:Site get-together in Bracknell. Since then I’ve been working away on my first paying audio commission and, as one of life’s monotaskers, have found it hard to shift my attention back onto writing blog posts.

Praise for the event’s organisers is therefore long overdue for what was a very encouraging and friendly event, and you can read a full write-up on Felicity Ford’s excellent Domestic Soundscape blog. I’ll just give an inventory of the projects presented at Sound:Site.

When I arrived, Chris Clark from the British Library was talking about the UK SoundMap, a crowdsourced endeavour using Google Maps and AudioBoo to collect and present recordings from the general public.

Patrick McGinley spoke engagingly about Framework Radio, in which he’s been producing field recording-based broadcasts and podcasts since 2002. Framework has now passed its 250th episode, and from the ones I’ve heard it’s been of consistently high quality – all in all, Framework is a considerable achievement.

Felicity Ford and Paul Whitty explained their Sound Diaries project, which is based at Oxford Brookes University. It’s an umbrella under which anyone working with sound and the idea of sound diaries can share their projects and ideas online.

The sound designer Harry Towell gave an overview of his net-based Audio Gourmet label, specialising in electro-acoustic music. His site’s among the best thought-out ones for net labels that I’ve seen, and really encourages exploration of the music on offer.

Helen Frosi was there on behalf of SoundFjord, which is London’s only sound art gallery. This is a great project which deserves the support of anyone in the city who’s into sound art, field recording or experimental music.

Several people from the Devon-based SoundArt Radio turned up, and I got to have a pleasant chat with co-founder Nell Harrison. There’s a good write-up on the station by Elisabeth Mahoney in the Guardian.

Also there was Simon Whetham, who contributed to the evening’s performance. Simon is an artist, recordist, musician and model builder, and he kindly gave me one of his CDs, which like a chump I later managed to lose during the course of the day. Whetham has a lot of composition and performance work under his belt, so it’s not easy choosing a replacement to buy.

Artist Kathy Hinde and technical whizz Ed Holroyd showcased their impressive Twitchr birdsong sound map. Like the UK SoundMap, it uses AudioBoo so any contributor can easily upload sound files. Individual recordings are then turned into elements in a virtual music box.

After getting off the train at Bracknell I was hanging around near the cab rank, trying to guess by appearance alone who might also be headed for Sound:Site. Along came a friendly-seeming chap who was looking with interest at the surroundings, so I guessed he wasn’t a native Bracknellian.

He turned out to be none other than Weymouth-based Joe Stevens of 51 Degrees North. Joe’s involved in several projects, but fans of the UK SoundMap will have been enjoying his ‘Sounds of the Seaside’ recordings, uploaded under the monicker 51joe. It was a real pleasure to meet him, and he was great company.

Roll on the next Sound:Site sonic arts festival.

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