Everyday sound has had a curious and extraordinary year in the midst of some of the toughest of times. Amongst the sounding memories we have of the last eleven months is the shuffle of papers, hushed voices and birdsong on the live feed from the Rose Garden at number ten Downing Street as journalists waited for Dominic Cummings to make a statement about his visit to Barnard Castle; the sound of rain falling on the turf at Elland Road, home of Leeds United, audible only because there was no crowd, no sound in the stadium other than the sporadic shouting of the players and coaches and the falling rain; the still quiet of the fields alongside the A34 usually saturated with the deafening sound-making of tyres on asphalt but during the first lockdown in England filled instead with the sound of birdsong and children playing.
Contributor: Loz Colbert Location: The Back Streets of Oxford Time and Date: 05122020
The sound of the luggage bag on the streets has been largely absent – as has been my physical presence on them – since lockdown. So recording this sound on my first walking trip in the City Centre for many months felt like a beautiful moment.
Ricercare recorded with omnidirectional microphones
In these recordings I was interested in the relationship between the town and the concert, and in the point of view of the streets around Modern Art Oxford where Ricercare was being performed, and the pedestrians walking nearby.
St. Ebbes Street was crowded with people walking with shopping bags, and with tourists enjoying the city and the sun. It was a Saturday afternoon. I was moving in the space, following the sounds, recording, and trying to find a nice balance between the different sound sources. I decided to perform different walks, each approaching the yard at Modern Art Oxford and the performance of Ricercare from a slightly different angle.
These recordings feature two different fade-ins leading into the concert from the perspective of St. Ebbes Street, with Bonn’s Square behind me. I used omnidirectional microphones in order to catch the sound atmosphere of that area of Oxford. – Valeria Merlini