TWO NEW SOUND maps recently stumbled across thanks to Twitter. What’s interesting is that both of them supplement their recordings with images, and I wonder whether this marks a trend towards multimedia projects in which sound plays the role of first among equals.
The first is the Inukjuak Sound Map from an Inuit settlement of the same name in northern Quebec.
Many of the recordings document activities in the town, such as building kayaks and feeding huskies, as well as examples of throat singing and the sounds of the surrounding landscape. When you click on one of the map’s sound icons, a pop-up appears with an audio player, explanatory text, and a photograph.
Much of it is the work of sound artist Nimalan Yoganathan, and you can read more about the project on his blog. But it also looks similar to the Montreal Sound Map, and sure enough Max Stein is there as programmer and designer too.
The second project is Charles Veasey’s Hmsg Spiral Map with sounds and video from the Capital District in upstate New York. Hmsg is short for Hudson Mohawk Sound Gate, and properly speaking it’s a multimedia presentation rather than sound map. Nonetheless Veasey has a strong background in music and acoustics and among other things he’s worked for the pioneering composer Pauline Oliveros.
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The Spiral Map looks and sounds very impressive as it progresses smoothly through its 30 different sound recordings and videos. Most of the videos have very little motion in them and much more action is heard than seen. It’s a great way to set a balance between the ravenous eye and the patient ear.