Tuesday, May 05, 2020

Sounds of the city

Cities And Memory may have been running for five years, but the project has really come into its own in the last couple of months - for obvious reasons. Stuart Fowkes - a fellow former Nightshift writer who also happens to be behind Oxford's excellent Audioscope music festival - set out to collect field recordings from urban areas around the globe, but could surely never have imagined the present moment: "a really unique time when the world is sounding like it's never sounded before", he told the Guardian's Lanre Bakare.

Traffic noise - both on the roads and in the skies - has plummeted, but our cities aren't completely silent. Even a deserted Times Square at the height of New York's coronavirus crisis hummed with "an air-conditioning drone". As Fowkes noted, "One of the few positives from this situation is that people are starting to reconnect with nature a little bit and starting to notice the sounds that are usually drowned out around them". Stop to listen and you'll hear what he means.

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