Category Archives: Engineered Soundscapes

Panopticons

Singing, Ringing, Tree (Panopticons) - Photo by WikiCommons

You might notice a wee trend creeping into my posts in the next few weeks. I’m currently doing some research and preparation for my masters thesis, which I’ll be writing in the coming months, and a lot of the stuff I’m digging up is interesting indeed.

Like this wind sculpture in England’s Northwest. It takes a simple meteorological constant and turns it into a beautifully eerie, aleotoric piece of sound art. Check it out in action here.

I’ll be talking more about my thesis in the near future…

The Soundscape Podcast Series

Back in May I talked about the very interesting work of a friend of mine, Tess Bunny. Her Wild the City blog forms part of her attempt to promote the “re-wilding” of urban spaces.

Tess has had a busy last few weeks as her latest project – a week long audio-visual installation at the local mall – came to fruition and she rushed around giving lectures and meeting folk interested in her work. I was there to capture a lot of the action and the from the resulting recordings I’ll be crafting a three part podcast series. The podcasts will be arranged as follows:

Episode (1): Introductory podcast exploring the ideas and rationale behind Tess’ work.
Episode (2): An audio showcase of Tess’ ‘Wild The City’ installation at Dunedin’s Wall Street Mall complex.
Episode (3): The making of and discuss the ideas behind Tess’ forthcoming soundscape film.

I’ll be debuting one episode a week starting August 23 so stay tuned.

Manufactured Jungle

Whispering in the Leaves is a fascinating new sound installation by stalwart field-recordist (and ex Cabaret Voltaire member) Chris Watson. Through the use of field recordings typical of a South American rainforest, Watson has carefully recreated a jungle soundscape.

Let’s hope that in a few decades this isn’t the only way we’ll be able to hear a jungle soundscape.

Thanks to Tim @ Music of Sound for the tip.

Manufacturing Emotion

One of the most interesting articles I have read in recent weeks is this little gem about the man tasked with conceiving and designing the ambient sound experience at Disneyland.

Here is an example of a ambient sound system designed in support of an even greater engineered environment spread across a vast physical space and dictated by a wide range of thematic and emotional content. The designer talks of the difficulties of creating a seamless sound experience across such an environment. It’s a fascinating exercise in sound design, especially in the pre-digital era.

The important point I noted here is that in situations such as these, a successful ambient environment is never consciously acknowledged by its listeners. Instead, it should unconsciously bring about a desired state of mind. In the same way that the designer tweaks the individual parameters of the sounds, so he tweaks the feelings and emotions of those listening to them.