Sonic Routes (2018)

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Sonic Routes

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Olver Transit Pavilion: 42.122740, -72.749340
Northampton Post Office: 42.321360, -72.627100
Academy of Music: 42.317360, -72.633600
Hampshire County Corrections: 42.308280, -72.659610
Belchertown Center: 42.277583, -72.400806
Belchertown Common: 42.279611, -72.402361
Amherst College: 42.372917, -72.518833
Amherst Common: 42.374556, -72.519778
Amherst Post Office: 42.377778, -72.519833
Springfield Union Station: 42.105861, -72.594944

Transportation is one of the central functions of music. When we listen to music, we’re transported into a new soundscape shaped by myriad, swirling frequencies, harmonies, and colors of instruments, voices, and sounds. Each person has their own unique reaction to music, no matter how similar it may to be to someone else’s, and this effect goes beyond the traditional conception of music as the product of bands and musicians. Really, these effects are inherent in sound itself, regardless of musical form. We aim to highlight that fact through our ambient environmental recordings. Save for the occasional notes blaring from car radios whizzing by, there’s no “music” happening. What you do hear, however, are the sounds of zooming cars, birds in a nearby tree, heels clicking on the pavement, picked up snippets of the conversation from two passersby. All of these sounds, that some would describe as noise, are the music of that location. They form a true sonic snapshot of an environment, made not from the active workings of musicians, but from the combined, unconscious working efforts of everyone within the area. Together they create the music of a location, community, and, when combined, the music of a region, reaching across the usual divisions that separate a community like race or class, and incorporating those divisions equally.

Our hope is that as you listen, you can visualize yourself waiting on that bench watching cars go by as the sound pans from one ear to the other. You can feel the chill of the autumn wind as it rustles the trees and blows scratching leaves across the pavement. You can see the bus arrive to pick up and drop off passengers as the hiss of air brakes and the opening doors assault your ears. And as the sound of two people conversing burrows into your left ear, you realize that not only are you transported to a new social setting, but that with that transportation you’ve extended that recorded community past it’s physical boundaries.