World Listening Day 2018

Pauline Oliveros Listening all the timeYou hear all the time: how much do you listen? What do you listen to? What do you hear when you don’t think you’re listening?

Celebrate the memory of Pauline Oliveros with World Listening Day.

Take a walk. Walk so silently that the bottoms of your feet become ears.

Share what you’re listening to.



kingston kenI am bound for London — well, actually Kingston-on-Thames first for the conference. Never been to this campus before but it looks lovely. I’ll be near Hampton Court so I might finally go there. The Royal Horticulture Society had a big show there: the gardens are bound to be lovely.

Of course the conference ought to be a blast. I really get to enjoy it because I am the first speaker after the welcome! Heh, that makes a difference from going in the last panel of the last day. Far more relaxing. All the papers look interesting — after all, it’s Ken Russell!

I’ll be flying down which is a change. Rail tickets have gone up so much it was actually cheaper (not to mention quicker). Going by way of Surbiton which always puts me in mind of Monty Python.

I will have adventures to share, of course: at least a couple of concerts in London afterward, too. I will doubtless share my opinions here. In the meantime I’m just glad to have my paper finished well before time!

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Representing the skulk always!

Sacred Spaces @CitiesAndMemory

I’m so excited to be part of this project. Even the BBC covered it this morning, interviewing curator Stuart Fowkes on Radio 4. You can check out the whole wonderful playlist here or click on the links via the world map. Read up on the background of the project.

My field recording was made at ‘Brigadoon’ — better known as Universal Pathways — down in the grove.

Even better there’s a cool remix by Terry French: check it out, especially the notes on how the sound was re-imagined.

Also check out the latest in medieval sound at Sounding Out!

Sounds of Dundee

I’ve put up a recent field recording that I made in Dundee last month. On Peter Street just off the Murray Gate there’s a little passage way where you’ll find the Grissell Jaffray memorial, a blue plaque and pair of mosaics. She was the last witch executed in the city. I just hung out for a few minutes with my DR-40 and captured ambient sounds (and a little wind–need a better wind sock). Close your eyes and listen.

I’ve got a new sound project coming out on Monday: you can get a preview of the Cities & Memory project here. More about it then. Yes, obsessing a bit about sound lately. So many things colliding in my mind. You’ll be hearing (!) more about medieval Scots literature, too. I just submitted a recording for a fascinating project, Soundmaps for the Dreamer at Sonoscape. And there’s more: my presentation at the Ken Russell conference will be about sound, too.

And of course I’ll be writing up my experience curating WeTheHumanities for a week. So many things — and also Respectable Horror is almost here!

Sounding Out Medieval


Have you ever wondered what the Middle Ages sounded like? I am obsessing over the idea lately, especially as it applies to magic. How wonderful then to be part of a series that has begun at Sounding Out, the Sound Studies blog. Thanks to the editors Dorothy Kim and Christopher Roman for putting together this fantastic collection.

I’m new to the discipline of Sound Studies. I have the ‘bible’ The Sound Studies Reader which I’m devouring. The presentation I gave at the Digital Britain Conference was my first tentative step in that direction and I got a lot of terrific experience working with Max Goldfarb on the ‘Home – Concept – Hudson’ piece.

See? You think I just do a bunch of weird stuff, but it all connects (at least in my head). I have so much to learn — which is so much fun!

Read the introduction here.

Read Chris’s piece on Richard Rolle here.

Coming soon:

“Playing the Medieval English Lyric” Dorothy Kim

“ ‘All their ioynts & properties’: Orthography and Sound in Early English Poetry” David Hadbawnik

“A Medieval Music Box: the Cantigas de Santa María as Sound Technology in the Age of Alfonso X” Marla Pagán-Mattos

“ ‘A Clateryng of Knokkes’: Multimodality and Performativity in ‘The Blacksmith’s Lament [VC1] ’” Katherine Jager

“The Sound of Magic” K.A. Laity

And there’s more — all the way into 2017! I have so much to learn, I can hardly wait.

Digital Britain & Harvard Art

2016-03-26 08.57.10.jpgI ran off to Cambridge over the weekend to attend the Digital Britain conference and happened to run off from that to wander through some art at the Harvard Art Museums. I put some photos up on a Facebook album because that’s the easiest thing to do (it’s public so you don’t have to belong to Facebook). It was a good weekend. A lot of great ideas, some good conversations, terrific art and reacquainting myself with the city where I lived for some years.

Much has changed: the Harvard Book Store is still there, but few others. Chain stores fill a lot of space in the Square, but it’s still a mad rush of people on a Saturday night. I enjoyed strolling through the campus that used to be so familiar. I even thought I saw an Easter bunny scamper under a hedge but looking closer of course I saw it was only a rat.

I’ll write up the conference itself a bit more for the Digital Humanities Initiative when I get the time. I loved this candelabra because I am immersed in Hannibal at present; there was a sculpture in the same vein which you can see in the album.

What Does ‘Home’ Sound Like?

Although I spent most of my ‘spring break’ catching up on work, I did do a couple of fun things. You already know about the fab trip to the city with Stephanie, but I also attended a field recording workshop sponsored by local community radio WGXC and run by Max Goldfarb. Check out his projects: he’s done some cool stuff. And if you haven’t visited the Wave Farm yet — especially Zach Poff’s Pond Station, do!

And I am so glad I did! It really kicked up my interests from idle meandering thoughts to something concrete — well, virtual but done. At least one take is done (tinkering can go on forever).

How to describe this? You know the Odorifics scene from Harold & Maude? Scents that put you in a place and time. I wanted to do that aurally to give a sound experience of what it’s like here at the Hudson house so I made this soundscape to give anyone that experience. If you’ve sat on the porch here, it may seem familiar. Put on your headphones, close your eyes and let it surround you.

Of course I’ll make one for Dundee as well. Screaming gulls and blackbirds mostly. That way you can put yourself there, too. And maybe a third one on the road because that’s where I spend a lot of my time, too.

Oh, and Happy St Urho’s Day — another fabulous SL Johnson image. Buy her art on all the things.

St Urho Hopper