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Cities and Memory - remixing the world
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Cities and Memory - remixing the world

Author: Cities and Memory

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Cities and Memory remixes the world, one sound at a time - a global collaboration between artists and sound recordists all over the world.

The project presents an amazingly-diverse array of field recordings from all over the world, but also reimagined, recomposed versions of those recordings as we go on a mission to remix the world.

What you'll hear in the podcast are our latest sounds - either a field recording from somewhere in the world, or a remixed new composition based solely on those sounds. Each podcast description tells you more about what you're hearing, and where it came from.

There are more than 4,000 sounds featured on our sound map, spread over more than 100 countries and territories. The sounds cover parts of the world as diverse as the hubbub of San Francisco’s main station, traditional fishing women’s songs at Lake Turkana, the sound of computer data centres in Birmingham, spiritual temple chanting in New Taipei City or the hum of the vaporetto engines in Venice. You can explore the project in full at http://www.citiesandmemory.com
2659 Episodes
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3580: Light whispers

3580: Light whispers

2020-11-2403:56

Cicadas in Arquà Petrarca reimagined by Andarctica.  "I really wanted to use the rhythmic pulsing of the crickets as a filter element, so it was a matter of first augmenting the sound to be more tonal and playable, then feeding it back through a vocoder with the original sample as the carrier. It led to some really nice phasing and harmonics, especially when put to tape."
Mid-August in the incredibly beautiful little town of Arquà Petrarca in northern Italy, where the poet Petrarch spent most of his days. On this balmy, hot day, we listen to the cicadas in the trees chattering out their constant chorus, truly the background to summer. Recorded by Cities and Memory.
Sounds from a typical day during lockdown in Bourges, France (ignoring remote working, of course): 0:0s: churches ring at 7:30 AM 2:00s: birds recorded from my balcony 4m:30s: bells ring the mass 8m:10s: playing fetch with my cat 9m:00s: going out (1 hour/ 1 km radius), rain over fallen leaves in Prés Fichaux garden. 13m:15s: night walk in the deserted streets of Bourges, Saint Etienne Cathedral at 9PM 15m:20s: bat screams (played at 10% speed) 17m:10s: end of the day, reading in bed with my cat The field recordings were mostly done from my balcony, the garden nearby or at night in the streets.  Recorded by Jeremy Simoncello. Part of the StayHomeSounds project to map and reimagine the sounds of the Covid-19 lockdowns.
Listen closely on a walk around some of the less-explored corners of Venice, and as well as the sounds you'd expect, like boats on the canals and the clacking of shoes on bridge crossings, you'll hear repair and construction, as an ancient city founded on the lagoon constantly regenerates and renews herself for the next generation. Here we're tuning into house repairs on Fondamenta San Felice, as a bucket containing building materials is raised and lowered from a boat to a second-floor window using a mechanical winch. Recorded by Cities and Memory.
3576: Construction

3576: Construction

2020-11-2004:38

House repairs in Venice, Italy reimagined by Xqui. "I wanted to utilise all the background sounds by way of manipulation.  Everything here is taken from the original recording."
In the Giardini della Biennale at the far end of Venice, it's a quiet moment on a sunny September weekday, with hardly anyone around, and the only sounds being the passing boat traffic at the far end of Venice's main island, and the faint sounds of birdsong from the gardens. Recorded by Cities and Memory.
3574: Surface

3574: Surface

2020-11-1904:46

Venice Biennale gardens reimagined by Eleni-Ira Panourgia. "The original recording of the passing boat inspired me to listen to the water surface. The recording reveals traces of human activity and machines in relation to the space, the flora and fauna of that specific location in Venice.  "The piece ‘Surface’ focuses on the soundscape’s microcosm. Drawing from the issue of the rising sea levels that has troubled the area, sound is treated in ways to recreate and reimagine alternative climate and biodiversity conditions around water in the future cities."
On the island of San Pietro di Castello in Venice, on an otherwise tranquil and still weekday afternoon, we hear a boat being lowered into the water by one of Venice's typical boat cranes. The operator spins the boat around and zooms off - and at the close of the recording, the slosh of the wash against the boats opposite us almost sounds like a grand applause celebrating the achievements of the boat workers.  Recorded by Cities and Memory.
3573: Virtual Venice

3573: Virtual Venice

2020-11-1608:03

Venetian boat crane reimagined by Andy Billington. "I wanted to work from a visual score so took all of the parts of the original recording and colour coded anything that sounded like drums or percussion. "Next I took any ambient voice sounds or water sounds and positioned these on top of the drum samples (now all layered). Slowly a sort of smeared jazz construction was built out. Adding DAW double bass and Vibraphone completed the structure. But it was still not quite right.  "Next I reduced and removed many layers of samples and added the melody but played on DAW jazz drumkit. Finally more blurring and pitching down and the track was completed with some freeform distortion via a heavily processed organ improvised over the top). Virtual Venice was completed."
Bogota lockdown recording by Ricker Silva, November 2020. "During quarantine, a car passes by the neighbourhood, reminding us how we should take care of ourselves." Part of the StayHomeSounds project to map and reimagine the sounds of the Covid-19 lockdowns.
3570: Phlegethon

3570: Phlegethon

2020-11-1604:18

Phlegethon created by Nigel Firth (The May). "This piece starts with a fanfare of foghorns and waterlogged saxophones that then play from the forlorn banks of the river as seen from above. As we descend through the smoke and mist the true horror of the river of burning souls reveals itself, with the mangled screams of the victims and the beastly cries of the centaurs that taunt them discernible over the roar of the river, represented here by growling tigers and moaning synthesisers. "The viewer is lifted up to see the dreadful extent of the huge river from above, before it crashes down onto the bowels of hell as described by Poe in 'Descent into the Maelstrom.'" Part of the Inferno project to imagine and compose the sounds of Dante’s Hell, marking the 700th anniversary of The Divine Comedy. To find out more, visit http://www.citiesandmemory.com/inferno
3569: The Lost Poet

3569: The Lost Poet

2020-11-1407:00

Earth's surface by Mark Taylor. "Canto 1 and 2 of Inferno take place entirely on the surface of the Earth, so I decided to base my music around the strong narrative contained within these opening verses:  "Opening Section:  Dante is halfway through his life. We find him walking along contentedly, but there is an edge of melancholy to his mood; something is missing. "Section 2 (starts at 1 min 4 seconds): He has unwittingly wandered into a dangerous forest. Panic rises - he feels more and more desperate, trapped and hopelessly lost. "Section 3 (starts at 2 min 32 seconds): Just as he feels that all hope is gone, Dante sees a shining light above a distant hilltop. Maybe he can find his way back to the right path? "Section 4 (starts at 3 min 6 seconds): Dante tries to climb the hill and reach the light but his path is blocked by three terrifying beasts. A heroic confrontation ensues as he tries to find a way past them and reach salvation. "Section 5 (starts at 4 min 16 seconds): A despairing Dante is forced to retreat back into the forest but his misery is lifted by the unexpected appearance of the Roman poet Virgil. Virgil’s spirit has been sent to guide Dante back towards the light. "Section 6 (starts at 5 min 10 seconds): Virgil warns Dante that before they can climb the hill they must first pass through the place of eternal punishment (Hell) and then a place of lesser punishment (Purgatory); only then can they reach God’s city (Heaven). Slowly but surely, they begin their journey. Dante is determined but still full of doubt. "Section 7 (starts at 6 min 14 seconds): Approaching the edge of the forest they see a distant, first sight of the Gates of Hell. "Created using Native Instruments Komplete Ultimate software running in Sonar X3 DAW." Part of the Inferno project to imagine and compose the sounds of Dante’s Hell, marking the 700th anniversary of The Divine Comedy. To find out more, visit http://www.citiesandmemory.com/inferno
3568: Terra de Lumine

3568: Terra de Lumine

2020-11-1404:18

Earth's surface created by Elska (Laura Boland). "This soundscape represents Zone 1: Earth’s Surface; an ethereal introduction to Dante’s journey before he reaches the entrance to hell.  The dark forest sequence is depicted with samples of nature sounds that I took in a forest upstate New York. The resonant gongs at the beginning of the piece are from a bodhran drum. The piano tracks are the droplets of light.  You can also hear bits of a music box sample that is distorted.  I used a field recordings of waves crashing that I took in Cape May, NJ.  I manipulated this sample to represent the earth’s erosion and also the danger ahead and encounters with animals.  "Virgil, his guide, is represented in the vocal passages. I wanted to create depth and dimension as a foreshadowing approach to mimic and portray the landscape and the long journey before him. I tried to do this with panning and reverb. All samples are mine. Others include rain, footsteps, church bells and a few patches processed through an instrument called an organelle." Part of the Inferno project to imagine and compose the sounds of Dante’s Hell, marking the 700th anniversary of The Divine Comedy. To find out more, visit http://www.citiesandmemory.com/inferno
Dark forest created by Angela Winter. "'Midway upon the journey of our life I found myself within a forest dark, For the straightforward pathway had been lost.' "Dante has lost his way and finds himself wandering through an ambiguous dark forest. As he traverses the surreal landscape, he encounters three beasts—a leopard, a lion, and a she-wolf—each more terrifying than the one before. Suddenly, the poet Virgil appears before him; Dante beseeches him for help. As they talk, Virgil reveals that three divine women—the Virgin Mary, Lucia, and Beatrice—have chosen him to come to Dante’s aid. Virgil explains that Beatrice left her heavenly seat to plead their case to him, saying: 'Beatrice am I, who do bid thee go; I come from there, where I would fain return; Love moved me, which compelleth me to speak.' "In this composition, listen for Dante’s encounters with the three beasts, the poet Virgil, and Virgil’s tale of the divine blessings that Beatrice, Lucia, and Mary have bestowed on Dante’s journey. Thus reassured that he was chosen to do this, Dante follows Virgil onward toward Hell’s Gate." Part of the Inferno project to imagine and compose the sounds of Dante’s Hell, marking the 700th anniversary of The Divine Comedy. To find out more, visit http://www.citiesandmemory.com/inferno
3567: Dark Forest

3567: Dark Forest

2020-11-1406:13

Dark forest created by Karhide. "Dark Forest is based around the sounds of synthesised strings, strange background noises and a glitchy distorted rhythm to create a dark dense piece of music to get lost in." Part of the Inferno project to imagine and compose the sounds of Dante’s Hell, marking the 700th anniversary of The Divine Comedy. To find out more, visit http://www.citiesandmemory.com/inferno
Canto Three represents Dante's last moments in the earthly realm before entering Hell - and contains the most famous lines of the entire Divine Comedy. "Lasciate ogni speranza, voi ch'intratre" / "Abandon all hope, ye who enter here" The pieces develops as a journey - first, we hear the birdsong of the dark forest as Dante and Virgil walk on. As they move through, voices begin to whisper the warning written on Hell's Gate with increasing insistence, while a solo singing voice declares the presence of devils.  The birdsong fades away as we leave the forest, and the sounds of the natural world are replaced by an ominous drone belching forth from the entrance of Hell to warn away passers-by. Wanting to avoid representing Hell through simple drones and sheets of noise, instead the entrance to Hell announces itself through building waves of arpeggiated Buchla and Jupiter lines, building the tension until Dante and Virgil leave behind the earthly realm - but on their divine mission, they will retain hope. Part of the Inferno project to imagine and compose the sounds of Dante’s Hell, marking the 700th anniversary of The Divine Comedy. To find out more, visit http://www.citiesandmemory.com/inferno
3560: Vestibule

3560: Vestibule

2020-11-1404:03

Vestibule created by Dinah Mullen. "The moment of waiting, of anticipation, being confined - claustrophobia. The sense of a world around you, yet being separated from it. The sound of your own thoughts and terrors, and the sounds of the terrors to come." Part of the Inferno project to imagine and compose the sounds of Dante’s Hell, marking the 700th anniversary of The Divine Comedy. To find out more, visit http://www.citiesandmemory.com/inferno
Hell Gate created by Christopher Hill. "It was the idea of the Hell Gate as a threshold, a psychic and spiritual borderland that determined my sonic strategies in representing the despair embodied in Dante's motto, 'Abandon all hope ye who enter here'. The listener, I imagined, would become a third party to Dante's increasingly traumatic passage towards Hell itself.  "As the birdsong of the opening sections becomes more fragmentary and static the listener is brought to the shores of Acheron with its spirits of the selfish, its fallen angels, the permanent hum of hornets and the decaying ordure of its ground to encounter the mythic gate itself.  "The sound sources used are predominantly field recordings I had coincidently made in Italy and live improvisation. As the vista opens up and the antechamber to Hell and its denizens is revealed I wished to embrace the suffering and absence depicted by Dante in my compositional palette.  "The sound of wasps, the persecutors of the shades that occupy the shore, crowd noises, my own recitation of Canto 3 and historic sound recordings of Hitler were all added to the mix and processed using reversal, inversion and reverberation. "Hell I envisaged is not only the depository of evil but even more so a place of abjection, emptiness and loss. A place in which regret and shame echo and reiterate throughout time and space. The piece concludes with a more formal composition in which slight variations of tonal density may be noticed by the listener; metaphorically the ceaseless repetition of remembering that defines my own idea of the nature of Hell." Part of the Inferno project to imagine and compose the sounds of Dante’s Hell, marking the 700th anniversary of The Divine Comedy. To find out more, visit http://www.citiesandmemory.com/inferno
3563: Jerusalem

3563: Jerusalem

2020-11-1403:04

Jerusalem created by Janae Jean. "When creating this piece, I sought to combine elements of the "Divine Comedy" itself, such as the frequent use of the number three and the use of beasts to symbolise the three types of sins, along with ambient sounds of night in the medieval world.  "I chose to play an acoustic guitar with a passerelle (an additional bridge) that turns the guitar into a harp-like instrument. As this timbre is similar to that of a medieval zither. Additionally, I used tympani mallets on the guitar strings to create percussive hammered dulcimer-like effects. The ambient pads were created by manipulating recorded guitar samples that I recorded. Listen closely to hear other samples including the sounds of Dante's steps, the doors to the gate of hell, and church bells in the distance." Part of the Inferno project to imagine and compose the sounds of Dante’s Hell, marking the 700th anniversary of The Divine Comedy. To find out more, visit http://www.citiesandmemory.com/inferno
Jerusalem created by The Gaye Device. "The final part of the journey of Dante reaching Jerusalem and Paradise and looking out on to the universe inspired me to write this composition.  "Are we all looking for our own idea of paradise? How do we reach that and in what way, is it physical or mental, is it even important? This is a part of a personal journey using tones to induce an almost transcendental state of mind. Trying to reach a level of consciousness where calmness and serenity is akin to being in paradise through music.  "Paradoxically, the Jerusalem in Heaven has created its earthly opposite. The earthly state is forever seen as a jumbled puzzle, whose pieces may be shuffled into perfection. Century by century, men find only limited perfection and temporary ends, and by these must redeem themselves in the face of whatever God is listening. "The track was created by using fragments of sampled acoustic instruments, stretched to form slowly evolving meditative tones and harmonics layered and phased to create an aural soundscape which can be used for any form of meditative relaxation to reach a state of personal paradise. "Track written and composed by Andrew Howden." Part of the Inferno project to imagine and compose the sounds of Dante’s Hell, marking the 700th anniversary of The Divine Comedy. To find out more, visit http://www.citiesandmemory.com/inferno
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