Audio Cultures: Street Sounds And Where To Find Them

room 1 ECHOES


The audio represented here may not reflect the nihilistic topics discussed within the voice overs, however the audio was recorded with the intent of finding tangible sounds which were unique and provided an experience for the listener. Walking around the streets to look for unique sounds was a difficult task as it is just… the street. However, leaving empty-handed was not an option, so an attempt was made, if that. Listening back on the recordings after having sourced them; it became clear that something tangible had arisen from recordings of sounds which to the layperson, are monotonous and ordinary.

Listening back on the recordings made me realise that I paid more attention to these sounds when recorded, and being played back on a laptop. I started to understand that I took notice of the sounds and their unique properties far better than when I was listening to real sounds outside. The sounds became so much more prominent from a laptop and I wondered why. It was a mystery to me but I knew that if I was gonna get anywhere with this endeavour, then I needed to pursue and find out why. The funny thing was that I approached this project, working on it without a clear goal in my head, I worked and worked with only the tangible idea that sounds that are recorded and played back sound more fresh and bright in our minds than sound from the original source. I constantly questioned it. The question eventually the goal, finding out why.

I decided to lay out the sounds normally, to give the listener a realistic soundscape of walking through a rural street. I wrote some synthesiser lines to keep the listener reminded that this was still a recording and not the real sound. I used a voice over to guide the listener to what they should be listening to, but kept it devoid of voice in moments where I wanted the listener to have moments of self-discovery. However, I still needed to guide the listener otherwise the point of the mix would have been misjudged completely. What the audio works is trying to say is slightly meta in the fact that it criticises the way in which media interjects it’s way into our lives and drags our attention away from the real world, even though the piece of work which is criticising this notion is still, without question; a piece of media in itself.

I find it strangely ironic that it is a piece of media which is warning listeners about the dangers of media. – However, this statement proves the point as it took a piece of media to warn and make others understand this, thus proving the media's influence.

The recording methods were simple, leaving the microphone in omni-directional for ambient sounds and cardioid for specific sounds. I utilised MIDI for instruments, specifically using lead synths and organ synths. Lead for the more mechanical sounds which were an attempt to bring across the point that media is something derived from technology. The organ synth was a combination of sorrowful chord progressions with a slight transition to mystery, an attempt at retrospect and also a way to prime a response in the listener. The response being one of wonder and awe, in the section where it is stated that the human brain has been trained like that of a dog, to breathe in media like it is air. This project represents our humanity, culture, and what we have become and transitioned into. It may be a critique, however it is not a call for revolution, more of a statement saying that this is how things are from now, and how they will continue to be.

Leo Hwang
Leo Hwang



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