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.

09 September 2011

Thanks for saying hello

LAST MONTH SAW a rise in the number of site visitors and this was probably down to the recording of post-riot looting in Peckham. Everyone likes a bit of drama.

Around the same time I’d added an email/message form for the site, which you can find (and hopefully use) on the Say hello page. This has made a big improvement to the amount of correspondence coming in.

Among other things, there was a query about what pocket recorder to buy for £160 or less – the Roland R05 is probably a good choice – and another one about mic setups for video, which I know nothing about.

Within a month of the London Sound Survey going online back in 2009 every single recording was downloaded by someone operating from an IP address in China. What use they put all those sounds to remains enigmatic. But it’s nice when someone asks if they can use part of a recording for a track or radio show they’re putting together.

No problem if it’s for non-commercial purposes and the site gets a little plug. Those are the terms of the London Sound Survey’s Creative Commons 3.0 Attribution Noncommercial licence.

Elizabeth Veldon got in touch to ask about using some recordings in a project she’s constructing around the theme of London’s lost rivers. Here’s the first completed piece of hers:

  The Wallbrook delineates Londinium by elizabethveldon

During one of the Reclaim the Streets demonstrations around 1999 or 2000 the Walbrook river was briefly liberated from its underground confines near Cannon Street station. A bunch of crusties had done their research and prised open a manhole cover. The waters, which looked surprisingly clean, gushed out to whoops of glee at the symbolism of the act.

Matt Dixon very kindly shared a sound reference from a 1951 Royal Festival Hall publication by Max Parrish and it’s now been added to the historical section here:

London, like all large cities, has an unceasing backgound of noise, the low, even rumble of its immense and widespread traffic, against which intermittent sharper sounds from far and near are audible – the whistles of locomotives, the sounding of steamer sirens and motor horns, the rattling and clanking of trains and trams, the sounds of hammering, drilling and riveting, the backfiring of engines and the sounds of nearby shouts and barks.

The description reflects an optimistic view of London repairing and rebuilding itself after the war years, with the now-vanished noises of steam engines’ whistles and the sirens of ships on the Thames, then very much a working river.

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