Derive from London Bridge (North)

January 10, 2009 at 10:39 pm (Main Derives)


Today I embarked on a journey from London Bridge, heading North of the River. I took photographs and recorded sounds along the way. I only documented half of my journey with photos since my batteries ran out, but this was not crucial as I was more interested in gathering good sound material to work with – the photos were more of an aid to let me know where I had walked and also where I stood when I recorded a sound! I ended up speaking the street names in to my WAV recorder for later reference.

This is a list of sound recordings for reference:

1. “journey begins 4.36pm 10th Jan 2009”

2. walking down steps towards water in passage way (underneath bridge)

3. French tourists, near peer DELETE

4. runner

5. water underneath peer, shells brush gently against one another emitting delicate tinkling

6. clap underneath peer

7. throw stone

8. warm extractor fan!

9. claps / wind from fan DELETE

10. claps, next to above

11. gift shop “I always like the Skittles, things like that”

12. tiny walking (heels), ice skating rink at Tower of London


13. Ice skating rink, closer – Xmas choir singing / skates grinding

14. footsteps in passage way

15. car passes, then clap (foreboding place)

16. train (above location)

17 & 18. DELETE


19. ambiguous sound, arch underneath train bridge

20. train passing / walking

21. “Cable.. Cable Street”

22. Train passing /walking

23. quiet residential area (Christian st)

24. “Still on Christian St, passing Burslem St”

25. “Commercial Rd”

26. vehicles passing (at bus stop), nice break piston

27. “Filpot St”

28. “Varden St”

29.  band practise (quiet)

30. “Turner St onto Walden St”

31. “North towards Bethnal Green, Filgate St.” cough

32. “not sure…” “…park near Brick Lane”

33. “Osborn St”

34. shop pop music, stops abruptly

35. “Coming on to Brick Lane now”

36. walking, quiet singing

37. talking / laughing

38. walking / talking

39. in Rough Trade

40. laughing / walking

41. “Left out of Brick Lane, walk straight on to Redchurch St”

42. music from a pub

43. stationary vehicle

END 6.30pm on Shoreditch High St.

I feel the journey was successful in gathering usable materials. After reviewing the recordings a couple of times, my instinctual reactions to the sounds captured is to create a non-linear montage of them rather than composing a chronologically structured piece.

There are a few things I made a mental note of when on this journey.

1) There is a lot of “lo-fi hum” from the City, particularly along the River – this is probably due to the open nature of the space.

2) The main roads, whilst quite boring sonically (it’s just cars!), act as dividing lines between much quieter residential zones (e.g. walking north to Commercial road)

3) There isn’t always interesting sound present. In these moments I let the terrain lead me. Sometimes instinct overrides urges to go in a certain direction (particularly if I don’t know the area) and draws me to a more familiar direction.

4) Identifying interesting spaces to revisit may not be necessary. Instead the entire journey could be experienced as a singular aural space (e.g. a single composition of all the journey’s elements). However, I will keep an open mind at this point until more journeys are made…

5) Shorter recordings are more effective. Previously I always experienced the problem of having too much material to sift through after going out and recording. These recordings were mostly 30 secs each, which is more than enough (even for sustained sound activity since it can be looped).

Tomorrow I’m hoping to catch the last day of Cildo Meireles at the Tate Modern, perhaps I’ll embark on another journey afterwards.

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