George Street 2323. Where the echoes of the past intertwine with the harmonies of the future. (4.5kms/hour recommended) Amidst the many bustling streets of Sydney lies an environment that is both vibrant and loud, marked by its undeniable energy, fragmented state, and enduring affection. This project aims to experiment with the possibility of the future, sonically exploring three aspects of the pre-existing and the imagined landscape. As you, the listener, walk down the real-world present-day George Street, music and sound will illuminate electronic and algorithmic patterns, human truth and pain, and the soundscape in which they both occur.
From the outset, an underlying presence envelops the listener, setting the stage for the unfolding sonic narrative. A persistent drone emerges as an undercurrent that evokes a sense of unfamiliarity and chaotic energy. This grounding element lays down a sonic palette, providing a lens through which the project can be understood. The drone is arranged from the soundscape recordings of the bustling Sydney streets, layered with electronically generated tones that serve as a whisper of the future. These synthesized tones carry a sense of tension and anticipation, symbolizing the convergence of the contemporary world with the possibilities that lie ahead. As the project progresses, this juxtaposition between the recorded sounds and the electronically generated elements deepens, creating an experience that sparks a sense of disquiet.
As you pass the Haymarket light rail station, you will hear the disjointed resonant tones of the light rail's distant bloodline. Technological advances led to this method of transport becoming incredibly efficient, yet the terribly loud sound it emits is still an oversight. Maybe society isn't listening to Schafer's pleas to bring peace to the habitable landscape. As the listener walks, they are invited to consider. Is this a future they look forward to?
The music heard as the listener moves on is a fusion of sample-based hip-hop and dark tech-electronica. It is somewhat gritty but lacks an essential element, the vocals. The lack of the human voice and its beauty refers to the rise of automation and artificial intelligence in the future. There might be significantly fewer people. Or the people around might choose to spend their time on something other than creating art.
As the listener progresses, they will hear a synthetic algorithmic texture. A wall of sound patterns. This is the music the androids listen to. It is by no means pleasant to the human ear. But something about the predictable patterns and mathematical textures draws machines and artificial minds. This is synth generated and layered atop the continuous background ambience to provide an unsettling experience.
The sonic landscape highlighted is one of tension and climax. The listener will begin to experience a build of tension as they climb the hill. Harsh frequencies, soft synthetic sounds and more location recordings. This is left up to interpretation. A climax of all the primary elements in a piece of fusion, building and building. The question is again posed. Is this a future the listener desires to inhabit?
In exploring sound and future possibilities, "George Street 2323" invites the listener to delve into a world where past echoes mingle with future harmonies. Through its portrayal of Sydney's bustling George Street, the project ventures into the realm of the imagined. The interplay between recorded sounds, electronic elements, and algorithmic textures guides the listener on a thought-provoking journey, where the boundaries between human truth, technological advancements, and the existing soundscape blur. As the sonic landscape unfolds, evoking disquiet and anticipation, the project poses poignant questions about the direction of society and invites contemplation on the desired future. "George Street 2323" challenges us to explore the intersection of art, technology, and human experience, offering a captivating glimpse into a possible sonic tapestry that awaits us.
Elgammal, A. (2019). AI Is Blurring the Definition of Artist: Advanced algorithms are using machine learning to create art autonomously. American Scientist, 107(1), 18+. https://link.gale.com/apps/doc/A579092374/AONE?u=anon~f8d7805e&sid=googleScholar&xid=e37ed57d
R Murray Schafer. (1994). The soundscape : the tuning of the world. Destiny Books ; [United States.
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