DiscoverCities and Memory - remixing the world
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
2557 Episodes
The Rialto Bridge is one of the busiest spots in Venice, both in the tourist shops on top of the bridge, and the Grand Canal traffic below. Join us as we find a cosy spot next to this iconic bridge and listen to the sounds of Venice passing by us, including gondolas, a police boat, an ambulance boat with wailing sirens and the vaporetti (water taxis). Recorded by Cities and Memory.
Rialto Bridge sounds reimagined by Richard Gadd. "I have used the entire original recording and have highlighted and altered sections to create a richer soundscape.The original plays throughout the reimagined piece anchoring it in a lived in city. I was struck by the classical renaissance beauty of the bridge and the contrasting modern sounds."
3479: The Drift

3479: The Drift


Sports cars drifting reimagined by Cities and Memory. The original field recording is an exciting listen - two sports cars practising their Fast and the Furious-style drifting in an empty car park at night. If anything, the distance between the cars and the recording device adds to the dynamism, with acres of reverb coming from those tuned-up engines.  For the reimagined piece, it's all about the engines, and trying to generate some of that same kinetic energy. The basic rhythms are generated by injecting motion into the car engine samples, around which the track is formed: drums are added, basslines in each half, and a series of dynamic, mobile synth lines from the Buchla Easel and ARP 2000 keep the energy levels high. This is The Drift.
Two sports cars practising synchronized drifting in an empty parking lot at midnight in Raleigh, North Carolina, USA. Recorded by Steve Burnett.
Monte Grappa WW1 shelter reimagined by Cities and Memory. Walking around inside a shelter carved from the very rock of the mountain was a humbling experience, thinking of the incredible hardship enduring during the Great War in the mountains, and the effort that had to go into creating a supply line.  As a sonic tribute, the recording is blended with La Canzone del Grappa ('Mount Grappa'), a song composed in August 1918 by Captain Antonio Meneghetti as we make our way around the shelter, fading at the end as we reemerge into the misty daylight. Here are the lyrics, in both Italian and English. La Canzone del Grappa Monte Grappa tu sei la mia patria, sovra a te il nostro sole risplende, a te mira chi spera ed attende i fratelli che a guardia vi stan. Contra a te già s'infranse il nemico, che all'Italia tendeva lo sguardo: non si passa un cotal baluardo affidato ad italici cuor. Monte Grappa tu sei la mia patria, sei la stella che addita il cammino, sei la gloria, il volere, il destino, che all'Italia ci fa ritornar. Le tue cime fur sempre vietate per il piè dell'odiato straniero dei tuoi fianchi egli ignora il sentiero che pugnando più volte tentò. Qual la candida neve che al verno ti ricopre di splendido ammanto, tu sei puro ed invitto col vanto che il nemico non lasci passar. Monte Grappa tu sei la mia patria... O montagna per noi tu sei sacra giù di lì scenderanno le schiere che irrompenti a spiegate bandiere l'invasore dovranno scacciar. Ed i giorni del nostro servaggio che scontammo mordendo nel freno, in un forte avvenire sereno noi ben presto vedremo mutar. Monte Grappa tu sei la mia patria... English Translation - Mount Grappa Mount Grappa you are my motherland our sun shines over you Those who hope and wait they look at you they look at the brothers at guard on you The enemy's already broken against you, he who already aimed to Italy no one can pass such a bulwark put in charge to Italian hearts. Mount Grappa you are my motherland, you are the star showing the way you are the glory, the will, the destiny, that makes us remembering Italy Your peaks were always banned to the foot of the hated foreigner he doesn't know the way on your flanks that he tried to fight out. Like the snow that in winter covers you with a white mantel so you are pure and undefeated with the pride of having never let the enemy pass. Mount Grappa you are my motherland... O mountain, you are sacred to us the stormy ranks, with flags raised will descend from you to drive out the enemy We will soon see the days of our servitude, that we endured with great efforts, change in a serene future. Mount Grappa you are my motherland...
This recording is from inside one of the many shelters carved into Monte Grappa, northern Italy, during World War 1, as soldiers cleared and protected a supply line through the mountains. It was a humbling experience to walk through these shelters, thinking of the huge effort it would have taken to make them in the first place, and the hardship endured on the mountains by those soldiers. Recorded by Cities and Memory.
Aeolian-Skinner organ reimagined by Baying Ridges. "The original track had a sadness but also some hope to it. I wanted to focus on that hope amid a wash of drones and noise. Hence the title, A Hopeful Thought."
The Æolian-Skinner organ by Quimby Pipe Organs, being played just before 5pm mass, February 16, 2020. Recorded in Saint Paul, Minnesota, USA by Laura Borealis.
3473: Gratitude

3473: Gratitude


Lockdown sound from Madrid, Spain, October 2020 by Ana Torralba. "Be grateful, lift others - after 6 months of  lockdown, my 3 kids are back to school with their backpacks full of gratitude and responsibility. They are aware of how "lucky" they are to do so: despite Covid-19 they are healthy, have a comfortable home and a family that love and support  them. Of course there were "highs and lows" during this isolation time, but betting on gratitude each night recalling those things that bring us joy has been a game changer for our family. Lesson learnt:  embrace uncertainty, show up everyday, ask for help and use your privilege as a tool in helping others." Part of the StayHomeSounds project to map and reimagine the sounds of the Covid-19 lockdowns.
Interview with Cities and Memory founder Stuart Fowkes on BBC World Service's Business Matters programme, 23 October 2020, covering Future Cities and the soundscapes of the global Covid-19 lockdowns.
One of the classic sounds of Venice, a row of moored gondolas sloshing back and forth, sometimes clattering into one another, on the lagoon close to the tourist epicentre of the city, Piazza San Marco.  Passing boat traffic intensifies the breaking water, which splashes up onto the pavement, endangering our brave little recording device.  Recorded by Cities and Memory.
Waiting for our train out of Venice, we explore the interior of Santa Lucia station, listening to the throb and drone of train engines, station announcements and the comings and goings of passengers. Despite being in the throes of the Covid-19 pandemic, the station sounds and looks quite normal, with only face masks and the occasional public health announcement over the PA system giving us a clue of the time we're currently living through. Recorded by Cities and Memory.
Campo San Polo is a large piazza in the centre of Venice - when we visited on a Monday afternoon, it was filled with children playing right across the square. All kinds of different games, different age groups, and parents watching on. Here we can hear a game of football being played and several other games as we take a walk around the campo, with the sounds reverberating off the buildings to create a joyous reverb of shared fun.  Recorded by Cities and Memory.
In Piazza San Marco, we await the bells at midday, which are heralded by a series of musical chimes coming from the Torre dell'Orologio. The biggest bell actually doesn't ring at midday, the chimes instead coming from smaller bells inside the huge campanile, so midday sounds a little different from every other time of day in the city. Recorded by Cities and Memory.
Venezia Santa Lucia station reimagined by Simon Woods. "All the sounds of this piece, making up a busy day on the station, are made from the Venetian station announcer’s voices. "In addition we have messages from their ‘Station Announcing Cousins from Liverpool Lime Street’."
Children playing in Campo San Polo, Venice, reimagined by Andy Lyon. "The recording is like a memory of pre-covid times and the piece reflects on all of the feelings we've experienced from 2020 - memories of the past, fear, anxiety, anticipation, hope, loss, despair and ultimately a cautious optimism for a better future."
Midday bells in Piazza San Marco, Venice reimagined by John Tenney. "A day in the life of a dreamer, who is suddenly transported from the streets of San Francisco to the Piazza San Marco in Venice, where he walks, delights in the ambience, hallucinates, is blasted back to San Francisco against his will. Sure, who would WANT to leave Venice, even in a dream world?"
Venetian gondolas in the lagoon reimagined by Mary E. Tither. "I'm very stressed and anxious at the moment (for various reasons) and it feels like I've tried just about everything in an attempt to calm down. I live in a landlocked location these days, so I don't have my main method of calming down to hand - going to stare at, and walk next to, an ocean. I miss the ocean and its sounds a lot... so this sound piece was inspired by those two things - the ocean and my current anxiety levels."
Tomba Brion reimagined by Cristina Marras. Six months into the covid pandemic and our lives have changed in ways that we wouldn't have thought possible.  Subdued at the beginning, like the sound of a distant bell reaching across a valley, it has now become clear that it is here to stay.  And amidst this new normal, remembering the banality of lost activities is enough to make me cry.
Visiting the Carlo Scarpa-designed Tomba Brion, we hear the sound of bells from a nearby town drifting across the fields gently to reach us. Tomba Brion is a fascinating place: a sloped concrete enclosing wall, two distinct entrances, a small chapel, two covered burial areas, a dense grove of cypresses, a private meditation/viewing pavilion, separated from the main prato by a separate and locked entrance, and a reflecting pool. It's a highly-contemplative space for obvious reasons, which added a new depth to the sound of bells drifting across the sky. Recorded by Cities and Memory.
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