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Cities and Memory – A review of 2015

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Cities and Memory is a global field recording & sound art work that presents both the present reality of a place, but also its imagined, alternative counterpart – remixing the world, one sound at at time.
Every faithful field recording document on the sound map is accompanied by a reworking, a processing or an interpretation that imagines that place and time as somewhere else, somewhere new.
The listener can choose to explore locations through their actual sounds, to explore reimagined interpretations of what those places could be – or to flip between the two different sound worlds at leisure.
2015 has been quite a big year for Cities and Memory, they have almost 900 sounds, with over 170 contributors and are closing in on a quarter of a million plays. To celebrate and as an early Christmas present, they’ve released a free album of some of the highlights of their sounds from 2015:

I’m delighted to be featured on this album, I’m a keen supporter and contributor to their projects and would encourage anyone interested to participate in a future project. In fact the next project is not that far away – the end of the month – with a project around the theme of Dada, to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Dada in February 2016.
For me there’s something very unique about working with field recordings. On the one hand they’re a unique snapshot in time, capturing a particular moment and on the other they offer a sound source that cannot be created by synthesis. Reimagining the sound gives you the opportunity to put a different perspective on the moment in time, whether it’s an extreme remix or really subtle use of contrasting or complimenting sounds.
Some of the highlights for 2015 have been:
Oblique Strategies : Artists reimagined field recordings using creative techniques from Eno and Schmidt’s Oblique Strategies cards.
Quiet Street : Reimagining the entire city of Bath in the UK for a two-week installation and an online sound map – including one piece with 30 vocal contributions which you can listen to here.
Sound Waves : Celebrating World Listening Day 2015 with a sonic examination of the role water plays in our everyday lives.
Utopia : Imagining the soundscapes from one of literature’s most iconic works, Thomas More’s Utopia.
Berlin Ringbahn : A special album-length composition made for us by contributor Martin Kristopher last month.
An installation using the amazing Memoryphones devices, exhibiting work in Bath and in Oxford.
Invited to speak on sonic matters at conferences in Amsterdam and Cambridge.
I’ve really enjoyed submitting entries to some of the various projects as well as reimagining other sounds too.  My favourite entry of the year  is ‘Our Lady is Also the Moon’ which was a collaboration with Kim Reuger (@BellyfullofStar) for the Sound Waves project.  I’ve previously written a blog post about this project and some others too which I discuss how I reimagined the sounds.
To find out more, visit the Cities and Memory website where you can also sign up to their newsletter to receive email updates on collaborations and forthcoming projects.

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