Bury St Edmunds

An experimental sound piece which takes recordings made during a vist to Bury St Edmunds and weaves them into a surreal narrative, morphing between lakeside walks, market criers, street performers and birdsong.

Recordings made using a Zoom H4n, edited and assembled on Ableton Live.

Headphones recommended.

Weather, walks and slugs

The Trip

An experimental sound piece I produced from recordings made whilst on a trip to Wales.

The piece was inspired and recorded during some coastal hill walking with my parents, and is a response to the peaceful stillness experienced whilst high up on a hilltop – the serenity of which invoked a rather dream like quality and as we looked downwards into the valley, the houses, cars and distant objects came to look like ‘toys’…

Walking in the weather.

Alder Hey’s Dawn Chorus

Image: Elisabeth Carolan

Our response to sound and noise are influenced heavily by the psychological associations we have with them. Hospitals and their internal soundscapes obviously carry very negative connotations and in the case of young children these negative associations can lead to increased levels of distress and fear. However the reverse of this is also true, certain sounds can have very positive associations and the effect of listening to these sounds can be very positive and powerful.

Several weeks ago, I was walking down the central corridor of Liverpool’s Alder Hey children’s hospital when I became aware of the sound of birdsong. As I continued down I could hear quite clearly the sound of a single blackbird gracefully chirping through the din of the chaotic hospital. As I focused on the sound I found that it brought with it a sense of calm and I begun to lose the feeling of unease that I tend to experience inside hospitals. However, there was no sign of this little bird or any other wildlife inside the hospital, save from the colourful murals adorned across the corridor walls. I quickly realised that what I was listening to was a very special sound installation; playing out the wonderful recordings made by BAFTA award winning sound artist Chris Watson.

I’d come to Alder Hey specifically to talk with their Arts Coordinator Vicky Charnock to find out how the hospital had been experimenting with sound to improve the experiences of their young patients. I also got chance to speak with Chris Watson, the creative talent behind the installation and he explained to me why he chose to bring the sounds of a local park within the walls of this hospital.

The Dawn Chorus installation forms part of the larger Sonicstreams project which is a creative collaboration between Alder Hey and the Foundation for Arts and Creative Technology (FACT); the project aims to creatively explore the impact of sound on the human body.

You can listen/download the radio piece below: