Listen to Sounds from Dangerous Places & Elsewhere
Here at ReadWriteWeb’s Sound Desk, we love to listen to things online. You know, like Shakespearean-era dialect of America and Babylonian poetry – that sort of thing. Well, hold on to your ear-holes, people.
I got turned onto Peter Cusak, a Senior Lecturer in Sound Arts and Design (yeah, it’s a thing) by a post on Boing Boing about the 25th anniversary of the nuclear disaster in Chernobyl. His recordings of the ambient sound of that deserted Ukrainian town is part of a series, “Sounds from Dangerous Places.”
Gruenrekorder, a German “phonography and sound art” site, has three of Cusak’s Chernobyl pieces, “Chernobyl Dawn” and “Chernobyl Frogs.” The recordings are eerie, beautiful, distressing. Well, you decide how they make you feel.
Another of his projects is “Favorite Sounds.” This is a collaboration with the people of London to discover and share their favorite locations in the British capital, by sound. It has been ongoing since 1998. Sounds/places run from the Thames at Butler’s Wharf to Big Ben to “nightingales singing against the hum of the electricity sub station at Fisher’s Green.”
On his site, Cusak describes his projects as “research into the contribution of sound to our senses of place to recordings that document areas of special sonic interest.” That idea, of sound as a contributing factor to our sense that we are here and not elsewhere is, in my experience, under-emphasized. Visiting, or revisiting, places via sound is an experience that is not like any other type of imaginative or memorial travel. And the Web has made finding, listening and sharing them much easier.
It’s a beautiful thing. That’s all I’m saying.
If you have recordings you’ve made of places that are special to you, we’d love to hear them. Post a link to your recording in the comments.