There are so many ways to explore a place, and one of them is through the sounds you find there. Dan Pope is an acoustic consultant and musician, who also makes sound-art and runs sound walks, and for this episode, we went walking down the St Philip’s Greenway and the closed Avon path, on a soundwalk.
Between stopping to find out what we could hear, Dan told me about various kinds of soundwalks, and how we can come at them from art, science, politics, ethnography, history, psychogeography, planning, and so many more viewpoints.
We also talked about his work, and what can be done to add positive (and negative!) soundscapes to places.
Dan has a fantastic list of sound resources, for people who want to explore sounds in their area:
- The Hush City app is a great resource to add sounds you encounter to a global community – you can explore their website and see what they do
- Cities and Memory is a global sound project, collecting sounds and having sound-artists remix them into sound-art pieces. For example, their Politics of Protest global sound map.
- The World Listening Project runs World Listening Day every year, with tons of events, including soundwalks – this year it’s on 18th July
- The Institute of Acoustics has regional branches across the UK, which run events – find your local branch here.
- The Bristol Walking Festival doesn’t have specific soundwalks this year, but there are tons of interesting walks to places that you can listen to
- Apps like Titanium Recorder and the Soundcloud app are great for recording interesting sounds you hear out and about – look them up wherever you get your apps
We also briefly talked about some people working in sounds:
- R Murray Schafer is a composer and the father of soundscapes, who started the World Listening Project
- Trevor Cox, Professor of Acoustic Engineering at the University of Salford, has lots of writing about acoustics
- Ellen Southern is a voice artists whose site singing project is incredible (You can listen to my podcast with Ellen here)
- Chris Watson is one of the top names in field recordings, from work for nature documentaries to his sound-works.
- Alan Lomax‘s collection of recordings from the USA South is available online
Make sure you follow Dan on his twitter, and definitely check out his band, Gusset, on bandcamp. His soundcloud has a mix of finished pieces and interesting sounds, and he also has a flickr album with photos from various soundwalks he’s been on too.
If you’re interested in the route we took, here’s my map:
And I have a flickr album with a couple of photos in it – click through, or mouse over the first picture to start the slideshow.
I have some related podcasts you might also like: a sound adventure with vocal artist Ellen Southern, to Over Bridge; talking to Richard Holden about how Bristol nearly lost the Floating Harbour, and other Planning stories; and talking an art-walk along a very similar route with Richard White.
You can download this podcast directly from the Avon Stories Soundcloud, and sign up for all the future podcasts via the Avon Stories RSS and subscribe on iTunes or Soundcloud to make sure you hear all the future stories. You can also follow the project on twitter and instagram, for regular photos of the rivers and other waters in Bristol.
Big thanks to Dan Pope for sending me his self-portrait in Lego to use for this podcast!