Alan Kirker

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Cities and Memory

Playing tracks from Cities and Memory, a massive audio project undertaken by Stuart Fowkes and his team over in the UK, on Humanoid Radio at CFRU FM, led to contributing to its most recent album, Future Cities.

"Cities and Memory is a global, collaborative sound art and mapping project that remixes the world, one sound at a time. The project covers more than 90 countries and territories with more than 3,000 sounds, and more than 550 contributing artists." (From the Cities and Memory Audio Project website)

Future Cities

For the Future Cities album of the wider Cities and Memory project, participants contributed to, or selected from an extensive library of field recorded sounds, captured around the world. People who picked a recording were invited to remix all or part of it as they saw fit, aligning it with the broad theme of Future Cities.

From the selection of recorded sounds, a piece of audio was chosen that was captured in a country park, Oxford, UK; a context sonically similar to this one here in Canada; on the edge of town, the rural-urban divide, a littoral zone where nature and humanity meet. The original field recording, below, features the occasional background plane and car, dog barking, and wonderfully syncopated bird song, the latter standing out and serendipitously matching a drum loop, with a few tweaks. Slightly edgy, atmospheric loops were recorded, then added to lend a futuristic feel to the beats and tweets. The humourous sounding Peter Sellers voice sample softens the piece's underlying message: We must look after our feathered friends as they are integral to healthy, biodiverse cities and towns, now and into the future.


Finished remixed piece,"Oxford Birdy Num-num", incorporating field recorded bird song, loops, and voice sample.


Original field recorded sound captured in rural Oxford, UK, obtained from the Cities and Memory / Future Cities project repository.


Check out the Future Cities webapge for information about the album release, scheduled for some time later in 2020.


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