Beresford Road to King’s Cross

August 26, 2008 at 1:44 pm (Derives)

A few days ago I embarked on a journey from my house on Beresford road to Highbury New Park at 8pm. I had no intention of travelling any further initially, but at some point whilst I was circling the park I suddenly felt inspired to continue exploring. The alternative of staying in really didn’t appeal!

From the park, I headed northwest along Holloway road, then turned left at the church on Madras Place. I was drawn to the church as it has quite a large green space inside. Though the gates appeared to be locked, I was quite tempted to climb in, but didn’t. I continued to walk around the perimeter of the church, eventually continuing down Liverpool road until I reached Barnsbury street. As I gazed down the road I could see what looked like a small park. I wondered what it would sound like inside; quiet, I imagined, being a few hundred meters away from the main road and enclosed by houses. The park was locked, I jumped in. I sat there for a while and reflected on my project:

I decided to keep moving after someone spotted me! Continuing west past the grand houses and residentual tranquility of Barnsbury I reached Caledonian Road. The contrast was immense, and bizarrely punctuated by the loud, visceral snap of someone bursting a solitary party baloon on the road. The 4-story houses with large bay windows had disappeared, instead I was greeted with a busy main road; traffic, local shops, the instinctive forebodding of dimmly-lit estates looming in the distance. The soundscape had altered also, from relative quietness to a variety of sound making objects in motion (cars), loud, intrusive. I felt slightly uneasy. I decided to follow Caledonian Road down to Kings Cross, but changed my direction when I reached Caledonian Road Bridge. I ventured forth in to the shadow covered path which lead down to Regent’s canal. I sat underneath the bridge for a while and clapped. Nice acoustics!

I followed the canal along, suddenly realising where I was. I cycled down this canal the other week! Beautiful ambience; light reflections gently dancing on the waterfront, the sound of passing cars reduced to a distant hum. Reaching the end of the path (there was work being done), I ascended on York Way. It’s vaguely on top of a hill, so you get an interesting view of King’s Cross and other illuminated structure. I followed this view, walking down Goods Way and through the gigantic underpass. I stopped for a while and recorded.

I walked down Pancras Road in to Kings Cross station. I wanted to clap in the large open hall, where the trains arrive/depart from. Wonderful acoustics and totally worth the strange looks I received whilst clapping! As I descended down an empty stair way to street level I clapped again. Another strange look from a bag-clad traveller, another accentuation of the acoustic space recorded – great!

It was home time, I felt somewhat drained. I went to the bus stop eagerly awaiting the 73 bus to return me home.

The journey was interesting and helped me generate alot of ideas for my project. The key ones were;

1) Record each and every space I encounter on a journey (maybe even the entire journey) and use the different sonic dynamics between these spaces (their relationship) as a way of structing a composition.

2) Make a piece composed entirely of claps in different spaces I encounter, exploring their acoustics. For example this quick experiment;

3) Mapping out my journeys (visually) and then linking it to what sound occured along the way. Perhaps I could use the physical route I took (bird’s eye, map view) and use this as a tool for shaping the sound that occured in the space.

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