THIS PAGE HAS A TEXT-ONLY VERSION FOR BLIND USERS
SHARE THIS PAGE

General sound map

Recordings of background atmospheres and incidental noises from all over London. Some form part of a sound grid series recorded at evenly-spaced points across the city, each marking the centre of a square on the map below.

1 3 5
2 4 3 3 11
1 1 1 1 6 5 7 16 21 3 18 1 1
2 8 22 11 3 5 5 17 5 4 2 1 4 1  
3 11 4 7 9 6 25 39 21 38 8 1 5    
1 3 5 7 5 48 42 56 38 11 8 3 2
1 1 2 7 6 15 8 40 15 5 1 1 4
1 1 41 2 8 4 1 9 7 1 1
3 4 3 7 1 3 5 2  
6 1 20 6 1 3 1 1
1 1 2 1 1
1 1

Above: graphic based on a daytime satellite image courtesy of the Image Science and Analysis Laboratory, NASA Johnson Space Center. Each red grid square is 2.5 miles or 4 kilometers across.

Internet cafe Cricklewood 3:36

Grid square: Willesden, Kilburn, West Hampstead

Recording date: 19 January 2011

Time of day: 8.30pm

Location: Inside an internet cafe on Cricklewood Broadway

Description: Tapping of keyboards by customers, voices of staff and customers, creaks and squeals from the shop's door, traffic outside.

Technical guff: Headworn stereo. 2 x MM-HLSO/Sennheiser MKE-2 mics and Edirol R09-HR digital recorder.

Recorded by: IM Rawes

Additional notes: None.

Millennium Green at night 1:00

Grid square: Willesden, Kilburn, West Hampstead

Recording date: 19 January 2011

Time of day: 7.30pm

Location: Millennium Green park, Cricklewood

Description: Sounds of distant traffic from Cricklewood Broadway and Edgware Road, faint noises from a rail depot.

Technical guff: Headworn stereo. 2 x Shure WL-183 mics and Edirol R09-HR digital recorder.

Recorded by: IM Rawes

Additional notes: None.

Burger King Cricklewood 1:00

Grid square: Willesden, Kilburn, West Hampstead

Recording date: 19 January 2011

Time of day: 9pm

Location: Cricklewood Broadway, northwest London

Description: Waiting at the counter of a small Burger King branch: voices of staff and customers, background music.

Technical guff: Headworn stereo. 2 x MM-HLSO/Sennheiser MKE-2 mics and Edirol R09-HR digital recorder.

Recorded by: IM Rawes

Additional notes: None.

Kilburn High Road station 1:00

Grid square: Willesden, Kilburn, West Hampstead

Recording date: November 2008

Time of day: 10.30pm

Location: Kilburn High Road overground station.

Description: Saturday night-time atmosphere from a platform at Kilburn High Road overground station. A woman sings at a pub karaoke a few streets away, traffic noise from Kilburn High Road.

Technical guff: Head-worn stereo. Sonic Studios DSM-6S/EH mics and PA-3SX preamp, Edirol R09-HR digital recorder.

Recorded by: IM Rawes

Additional notes: 4dB noise reduction applied.

Kingdom pub Kilburn 1:00

Grid square: Willesden, Kilburn, West Hampstead

Recording date: November 2008

Time of day: Around 10pm

Location: The Kilburn, Kilburn High Road.

Description: General ambience inside the Kingdom, an Irish workingmen's pub.

Technical guff: Stereo. Sonic Studios DSM-6S/EH mics and PA-3SX preamp. Edirol R09-HR recorder.

Recorded by: IM Rawes

Additional notes: None.

TQ 2439 8447 1:00

Grid square: Willesden, Kilburn, West Hampstead

Recording date: 17 February 2009

Time of day: 2.00pm

Location: OS reference TQ 2439 8447. Church Avenue, near Brondesbury station.

Description: Traffic rumble, a train sounds its horn, roadworks, two women pass by, one speaks.

Technical guff: Head-worn stereo. 2 x Shure WL-183 mics. Olympus LS-10 digital recorder.

Recorded by: IM Rawes

Additional notes: None.

About general sound map recordings

The majority of recordings on the general sound map are simply of curious or distinctive sounds heard around London. Some also appear elsewhere as part of the 12 Tones of London statistical recording project, and here are subsumed into their appropriate grid squares.

These kinds of recordings always have descriptive file names which don't require any further explanation. But just over a hundred others have ones consisting only of the letters 'TQ' followed by eight digits. These are the Ordnance Survey co-ordinates marking the exact centre of each of the sound map's 112 grid squares, and so these file names tell you with some precision where the recordings were made. Reaching each point was done with the help of a GPS receiver and a willingness to scramble over fences and run onto golf courses. The contents of those recordings are summarised in the graphic below:

The key on the left-hand side shows the most common sound categories encountered. The louder a particular sound type encountered at the centre of a grid square, the darker its icon. More than one icon of the same kind means that sound takes up more of the recording's length. Despite the wide spacing of the recording points and the brief duration of the sound files, they seem to do a reasonable job of plotting in outline the common or persistent sound types heard around London during the daytime.