Show cover of Cities and Memory - remixing the world

Cities and Memory - remixing the world

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 6,000 sounds featured on our sound map, spread over more than 120 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

Tracks

Migration Sounds on BBC World Service Newshour
An interview with Cities and Memory founder Stuart Fowkes on BBC World Service's Newshour about the Migration Sounds project, playing recordings already contributed from the USA, the UK and the Sahara desert and discussing our callout for contributions to the project. Broadcast on 23 February 2024.  
05:03 24/02/2024
Migration Sounds on BBC Radio 4 Today Programme, February 2024
Our Migration Sounds project featured in BBC radio news bulletins, 23 February 2024. This clip taken from the Today Programme. 
00:16 23/02/2024
Method of writing music by means of dots
"This reimagined sound starts from the fact that the impressive sound of these church bells is dramatically quietened by traffic noise on all sides, and this is an oasis of peace in a busy urban centre. "The light piano motifs and crystal healing bowl sounds bring to mind the idea of a church as a sanctuary away from everyday life and a centre of peace - but the growing, heavily effected guitar sounds that develop as the piece progresses symbolise the enveloping of culturally significant and beautiful soundscapes by them modern, noisy, homogeneous city." "The title comes from the 1829 book, "Method of Writing Words, Music, and Plain Songs by Means of Dots, for Use by the Blind and Arranged for Them", which was written by Louis Braille at the time he was organist of this church." Bells at Saint Nicolas des Champs, Paris reimagined by Cities and Memory.  IMAGE: Mbzt, CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons
04:27 19/02/2024
The chimes of Saint Nicolas
Church bells at Saint Nicolas des Champs in Le Marais, Paris, chime 11 o'clock in December 2023. There are two major roads either side of the church, which are constantly busy with noisy traffic and mean that this once peaceful oasis is almost drowned out by car traffic. Even the chiming of the bells has difficulty cutting through and making itself clear in the soundscape. Recorded by Cities and Memory.  IMAGE: Mbzt, CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons
01:08 19/02/2024
Hypatia in the night market on the vernal equinox
"I was unsure how to find a way into the project until I found the bell sound - maybe from a tram or bus or something? - which worked really well as a simple rhythm as the bell pattern is quite syncopated and then the final 'beat' is a car door shutting. "It became quite hypnotic, so I decided to go with that feeling and try to capture an implied altered-state, hallucinogenic journey through the night market.  "I then started reading about Hypatia the ancient Alexandrian mathematician and philosopher who was murdered for her 'pagan' beliefs - with one theory suggesting this took place on the vernal equinox - and so I thought I would tie the two things together." Zanket El Setat night market, Alexandria reimagined by Hawksmoor. 
05:08 14/02/2024
Sima
"This piece begins with a beautiful recording of the Ushuaia River in Lapataia, Tierra del Fuego, made by Raúl del Mestre. The peaceful play of the water over rocks and stones gradually gives way to various manipulations of the river sound (using pitch shifting, looping, reversing and sampling) evoking some of the tensions between this natural waterway and the rapidly accelerating changes in the world around it.  "European colonization looms large and brutal in the history of Tierra del Fuego, not least in the loss of its native languages. The UN estimates that one indigenous language dies every two weeks, and says: “When indigenous languages are under threat, so too are indigenous peoples themselves. The threat is the direct consequence of colonial practices that result in the decimation of indigenous peoples, their cultures and languages. Through policies of assimilation, dispossession of lands, and discriminatory laws and actions, indigenous languages in all regions face the threat of extinction.” "Set against the sounds of the Ushuaia River is a message in Yaghan, a language that used to be widely spoken here. This greeting was recorded for the first Congress on Indigenous Languages in Chile in 2010, by Cristina Calderón, a Chilean ethnographer, craftswoman, writer and cultural activist. Cristina Calderón passed away in 2022, and was the last known native speaker of Yaghan.  "You can hear Cristina Calderón’s full message at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NIL6xzGmvvA, and read more about language rights from the UN at https://www.un.org/development/desa/indigenouspeoples/wp-content/uploads/sites/19/2018/04/Indigenous-Languages.pdf  "The title of this piece, Sima, is the Yaghan word for water." Ushuaia river reimagined by Lucy Cathcart Frödén.
02:54 03/01/2024
Bahía Lapataia, Tierra del Fuego
Let's listen to the movement of water, near the end of route 3; Lapataia Bay Ushuaia Tierra del Fuego, Argentina. Recorded by Raúl Del Mestre. 
01:15 03/01/2024
Beneath the streets of Rome
A metro journey beneath the streets of Rome from the Termini station to Circo Massimo, with announcements, train noise, doors opening and closing and lots of Roman conversations. Recorded by Cities and Memory.  
06:42 03/01/2024
Non stop/Ciclo continuo
"The original recording of the Metro ride in Rome is very specifically located while also having echoes of travel that are characteristic of cities around the world. A mix of sounds that encompass those from the newest visitors to the city, to everyday commuters. Whether riding the Metro, Subway or Underground, the systems in place allow us to work our way around the familiar and unfamiliar. If you know how to read the Underground map in London, you can work out how to get around in Tokyo or New York or Rome. This remix commences with the specific ride on Linea B, and moves towards a more abstract sense of destination using looping and repetition. The announcements of what is ahead entice us to keep travelling even if it is to just see what is there. Laurentina - somewhere I have never been but where I might end up, at the end of the line, one day." Rome metro reimagined by David Cowlard.
04:20 03/01/2024
Il est entré dans mon coeur
"Despite the bombast and musicianship of the first busker in the field recording, it was the quieter and more subtle performance that grabbed my attention. Rotonda Foschini is an open, oval piazza with a gorgeous natural reverb, adding an extra dimension to this performance of 'La Vie En Rose'. "The natural reverb of the recording location was the starting point for the composition, as we imagined the reverb building and building until it took on a form of its own, physically lifting us up out of the space and over the rooftops of Ferrara. This ambient reimagining contains fragments of the vocal and guitar, as if half-remembered in a dream, while a bed of electronics takes us to lift-off." Buskers at Ferrara buskers festival reimagined by Cities and Memory. 
05:59 26/12/2023
La Vie En Rose and looping guitars
Ferrara International Buskers Festival 2023 - one of the top dates in the global street music calendar. Two acts in quick succession - first we hear looping solo guitarist Ziggy O'Neill, before heading down a corridor into a natural auditorium inside some buildings, in which a French singer gives a beautiful, reverb-drenched version of La Vie En Rose.  Recorded by Cities and Memory. 
11:29 26/12/2023
I am the air
"The ‘Oxford Hot Air Balloon’ sample was like nothing I had really heard before and I was instantly drawn to it. It had a certain tonality, colour and texture that I felt could be used as the basis for a composition. I wanted to use the sample in its entirety, perhaps as a pedal note running throughout any resultant piece of music. Along with the additional hint of ‘Autumn’ I was taken to the skies and glens of the Scottish Highlands with images of soaring Golden Eagles. I found myself thinking of a place called Loch Earn where, rising from the water’s edge during the autumn months is a forest of ever-changing autumnal colours. I really wanted to focus on this image as I wrote ‘I am the Air’ using the ‘Oxford Hot Air Balloon’ sample as a constant backdrop." Hot air balloon preparation reimagined by Simon Holmes. 
03:19 21/12/2023
Far fields
"Not usually a fan of cow bell as an instrument, so this field recording was a revelation; we used the waveform shape to produce a stream of stochastic triggers/gates (Mutable Ears into Mutable Marbles) to generate a musical phrase using two primary voices with additional modular synthesizer elements; this phrase was further resampled to produce multiple layers which were mixed and overlaid together with subtle use of the original recording." Valle Pramper cows reimagined by Arvik Torrenssen. 
06:05 21/12/2023
The queue
"The sounds of a Wimbledon match recall lots of memories to my mind, few of which have anything to do with tennis. It's the late nights in Brixton, the early morning train, the queue outside the gates, the overpriced Pimm's and the excitement in the air of the All England Lawn club." Centre Court at Wimbledon reimagined by Riccardo Fumagalli.
02:58 21/12/2023
Djokovic vs. Hurkacz on Centre Court
A match on Centre Court at Wimbledon, probably the most famous venue in tennis, on 9 July 2023. Defending champion Novak Djokovic plays Hurkacz, and it's 5-5 in the second set. Recorded by Cities and Memory. 
04:05 21/12/2023
The curious cows of Valle Pramper
On a walk in the Dolomites at Valle Pramper, we record cows feeding, with the clank of their cow bells. One curious young cow approaches the recording device to investigate and, startled, trots away, all of which can be heard in the recording. Recorded by Cities and Memory. 
02:53 21/12/2023
Ready for launch
A hot air balloon prepares for launch early in the morning in Oxford. We can hear the fans filling up the balloon with air from a flat start, as excited customers wait for their chance to go up and see the sights.  Recorded by Cities and Memory. 
02:46 21/12/2023
Seasonal reverie
"The sounds of the ferry leaving the the dock and moving into the sea conjured a scene of transition for me. Transitions, like seasons, can sometimes feel disruptive and uncertain, but the journey through them and adapting to their unique glory can bring one to a place of acceptance and can bring peace." Finland ferry reimagined by Firephly. 
04:06 21/12/2023
Dosa!
"The sound of dosa batter sizzling on a hot tava amidst low key bustling kitchen activity reminds me of visiting my family in India. I love dosa, and I wanted to build a composition that expresses the feelings a fresh dosa can inspire: joy, delight, immediacy, and reverence. I played sitar on the track, then manipulated it and added synth pads to create a hyper-drone. On top of that are drums, other synths, and the original field recording sampled and a bit rearranged." New Delhi kitchen reimagined by Becky Gebhardt. 
03:45 21/12/2023
Songs of time
"Travelling back in time to hear a beautiful Masai choir, the challenge was to clean up the audio and add variety. I imagined what the singing would sound like travelling back in time, and was surprised how melodic it was. The first part is that effect, until we land at the start and hear the choir in all its glory." Masai Mara blessing song reimagined by Ophertho.
03:23 21/12/2023
About a bird
"The soft wind and sharp birds put me in mind of my late friend Eleanor Adams, of Guilford, Vermont; I've used them to score and punctuate a recording I made of her in her 97th year reading Robert Haas' poem "Mouth Slightly Open" and speaking about life and mortality." Vermont birdsong reimagined by Maria Margaronis.
03:01 21/12/2023
Inside the kitchen, New Delhi
"The location of the recording is Chidambaram's New Madras Hotel, Khanna Market. Khanna Market provides one a historical view of when Delhi became the capital of newly independent India, born from the labor of the Partition. The market came up due to the large influx of refugees coming to the area post-partition. The oldest inhabitant of the market is Chidambaram's - a South Indian joint with roots going back to 1930.  "The recording is taking place from inside the kitchen. On the left is a stairway which leads to the cleaning section, right in front is the stove, and servers come and go throughout - to collect orders and inform the kitchen of new ones. The background is studded with the restaurant's staff and tens of customers chatting in Tamil and Hindi. The sound of the stove hissing is when the Dosa batter is spread on the tava. Very light music can also be heard playing from the mobile of the person sitting behind the cash counter." Recorded by Bariya. 
02:38 21/12/2023
Forest wind and birds, Vermont
This scene takes place in a largely deciduous forest in Berkshire, Vermont. Light wind creates a sonic bed throughout as we hear a variety of birds singing in the mid afternoon.  Recorded by Chris Ruprecht. 
03:00 21/12/2023
Boarding point for the ferry to Vallisaari
On the island of Vallisaari, at the nearest point to the fortress on Suomenlinna, boats of all kinds vie with enormous ferries arriving from, and departing for Estonia, Åland and Sweden through what is known as the Gibraltar of the North. The accompanying radio transmisions, inaudible to the naked ear, emerge through the recording process. Recorded by Julian Weaver. 
05:22 21/12/2023
Masai Mara women's blessing song
"I am at a traditional Masai village in Masai Mara area. I am at the open space right in the centre of the village. Huts are all around me and a herd of cattle is laid down in the middle. Women in traditional clothing are singing a blessing song for the visitors. At the end they come towards me giving me "five"!" Recorded by Christina Antoniadou.
01:59 21/12/2023
Memories of ek Neela Haathee
"The field recording immediately took me back to time that I spent travelling in the subcontinent as a young man. I drew upon a rich store of memories to create a piece that evokes the alien majesty of India; juxtaposing the contrasts of wide open landscapes and crowded bazaars, beautiful nature and bustling humanity, lyrical, microtonal ragas in Rajasthan and the ubiquitous dub reggae and trance in Goa." Produced on an iPad using the Endlesss app and GarageBand. Mix translation and mastering by Kirke Godfrey. Sanjay Van Lake reimagined by Dead Kousin.
05:49 21/12/2023
SoftWalk
"The field recording reminded me of walks with friends and family, on crisp autumn days, with maybe a sprinkling of softs now underfoot. It felt to me both melancholic and optimistic at the same time.  "I tried to capture this with a piano motif, that is then manipulated by lots of sidechaining and effects applied to the field recording, to both create a slow, soft walking rhythm and to provide a sense of air and space, as if walking outside but with a hood pulled up so your are focused only on the steps. At halfway the group stops to chat and the piano subsides, and then they pick up off again and head onwards, or perhaps to home." Paimo, Finland soundscape reimagined by TQW.
03:08 21/12/2023
Fieldstone
"My piece was driven by the northern aspect of Finland and the unusual night as day at 3am that I recall from my visits there. The sounds of diners (presumably at the Marina) serve as the main rhythmic element at the start. I wanted the instrument sounds and samples to present a representation of ancient and modern geography." Nagu, Finland reimagined by Gareth Evans. 
16:56 21/12/2023
Sanjay Van Lake
Sanjay Van is a city forest – one if the most thickly wooded areas in Delhi, and a large part of the city’s green lungs. It’s one of the areas in Delhi, where one can still perceive the characteristics of the Aravali range (Arguably one of the oldest geological features on Earth and Delhi's eroded past) The recording focuses on the area surrounding the lake where sewage water and effluent is discharged. Efforts are being made to redo the ecological diversity and help create new spaces for the migratory birds around here.  Recorded by Bariya. 
03:36 21/12/2023
Late afternoon on the Sanitorium Path
In the 'Healing Forest' around Paimio Sanatorium, Finland, Alvar and Aino Aalto's architectural masterpiece, a woodpecker works away near a babbling brook. The 'forest stillness' bristles with the activity of insects, birds, and power walkers. It's not long before the distant thrum of dirt bikes and other vehicles adds to the hubbub. Recorded by Julian Weaver. 
15:20 21/12/2023

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