What will the signature sounds of the 2020's be?

I had this thought about how the sounds around us have changed in so many ways, and in so many others, they haven’t. It made me wonder what would the sounds of the 2020’s be. It also made me wonder what sounds have become the signature sounds of my life.

This is something I’m likely to, or rather, hope to explore in my field recording podcast. If you didn’t know about that, you can find more information here.

The quiet world

I’m not the first to mention that the world is a lot more quiet now. Perhaps not all the people, which is actually a shame, but there is less noise around. Apparently earthquakes are easier to spot as there is less background noise. Birds are making more song, which is lovely, and air pollution is down. These are all good things.

I’ve been recording more things too. Mainly just the quiet of the morning, but other stuff too. So I thought I’d share a few of them with you.

A Wotja a day

I make a lot of music, very little of which I share anywhere these days. For the most part I make music for my own enjoyment, which is much more productive I feel. Anyway, I digress. The point of this is that at the start of the year I decided that I would try to make a small track each day with an app that I really like and enjoy. It’s called Wotja.

Wotja is a generative music system for iOS, although it’s been around a lot longer than that. I’ve actually been a fan of it since around 2007, which kind of puts things in perspective. Of course it’s changed a lot since I first started using it.

Anyway, once again I digress a little. The point of this is that I started on the 1st of January, and so far I’ve kept it up the whole time. So here’s the first. I’ll post the others, probably in small batches, periodically. Hopefully I’ll manage to keep it up all year too.

Honk, Conk and Squacket

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I’ve been reading this book very slowly, mainly because it is in many ways just a dictionary, albeit a fantastic dictionary. Honk is a dictionary of ‘sound-words’, which is now something of a forgotten art. What need to we have any more of describing a sound when we can just hear it online somewhere within seconds.

Sound-words are fantastic though, they’re fantastical awesome constructions to help you imagine a sound.

The book brings together words from around the UK and the world for that matter. The words come from all ages too. So, if you enjoy sounds and have an interest in words too, this book may well be for you. I can safely say that I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Laurie Andrerson, Nothing in my Pockets

Laurie Anderson Nothing in my pockets

I was given this book as a present a while ago. I hadn’t heard about the book, or the recordings before this, so it was a very nice surprise.

I’ve just finished reading the book. It’s short. Very short, but very readable, and very engaging indeed. Bits of it made really me smile, and I can thoroughly recommend it if you’re a fan of Laurie Anderson, or if you appreciate her style of music and performance.

It made me think about what an audio diary or audio journal would be, or indeed should be. It raised some interesting questions about what constitutes meaningful and engaging sound. These are all good questions. I don’t have any answers as yet, but they’re definitely on my mind, and, as and when I do have some answers, I’ll let you know.

I’ve been meaning to grab these samples for ages now

A set of samples from the Victoria line, well I have to do something with those right. Of course I do. I’ve been meaning to grab them for ages and ages, and now I’ve finally downloaded them. So I’ll make something with them soon. If you want to grab them yourself then you can find them here.

Recho hasn’t worked for me, but why?

I had some high hopes for Recho, but as I was sort of spring cleaning apps from my iPhone the other day I noticed it and realised that I hadn’t used it in any way at all for months and month. So I had a look at the Recho web site and it’s still there and still going it seems. But every time I tried it even in London I couldn’t find very many sounds or stories or anything that had been left.

So I wondered if in fact it hadn’t been a big success in the UK? Maybe.

Is it worth giving it more of a go? I don’t know. Perhaps I should try again? Perhaps if I try it now I’ll find more stuff in London? I think it might be worth trying again, even for a few days, just to see if there’s more content and it might be fun.

Soundscapes Exhibition at the National Gallery

Soundscapes Exhibition at the National Gallery
Soundscapes Exhibition at the National Gallery

So I went to the National Gallery to see the Soundscapes exhibition. I’d heard a lot about this exhibition and I thought that the concept was great, but was interested to find out for myself.

So the way it was set up was that each room had a single painting together with the artist’s sound work for that painting. There were 6 actual pieces and a film about the overall concept where the artists talked about there work and how it had come about.

I think that the idea, the concept, and the process was great, but sadly more successful than the overall result. A couple of the pieces worked well but on the whole I didn’t think it was all it could have been, which was a shame really.

I’m glad that they try these things out though. That’s what’s important really.