Do places have their own sound aesthetics?
For some time now I have been dealing with field recordings. Many of my tracks contain sound recordings of natural sounds, kitchen appliances or my bike. Even if you don't always notice it immediately, I use field recordings everywhere; as clicks in beats, as a rhythmic foundation or as ambient loops to give the track a certain atmosphere.
In my current project, which will be published in the foreseeable future, I explicitly dealt with the sound aesthetics of places and regions. I ask myself if it is possible do define places only by sounds. Or do places sound the same or similar, so that we depend on our eyes and images to define these places?
Maybe sounds, music and language sound different in different countries and continents. But is there also a difference in places that are geographically not far apart, where the same language is spoken, a similar culture or history prevails?
Here are some thoughts about trying to capture the sound aesthetics of a place:
I would like to share a possible approach that I use for my project Unheard Places here. One aim of my project is not to use pictures for the description of a place, but to create own pictures only by sounds and sound collages from these places. I developed the following scheme, which helped me to catch the sound aesthetics of the place. I I have decided to divide the recordings into three categories:
- Constant (sounds) or by what is the place historically shaped? Is there are formative hearing imagery, it is a place of transit, a touristic spot, an industrial or rural shaped place etc.
- Sounds of change: have roads and infrastructure been upgraded, is there an exodus from the land and has the place become quiet etc.
- Volatile, everyday or random sounds: What does it sound like from an open kitchen window? How do people sound when they talk to each other? What does the place sound like when I sit down with my microphone on the main square?
This categorization is only one of the possibilities I have discovered for myself and is certainly still expandable. But at least a first attempt to capture places in sound.