27 Mar 2022

Sound Blog: Taipei Metro Composition

mrt-animation.gif

Introduction

Today’s sound blog arises from consolidating and experimenting with different field recordings of the Taipei Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) system. During my time living in Taipei, riding on the metro has been one of my favourite occasions for urban listening. This is especially due to the fruits of the 2015 “Taipei Soundscape Project,” an urban sound design initiative for developing the acoustic environment of the MRT [2,1]. Based on the protogenic musings on soundscape design by R. Murray Schafer (1933 – 2021) [schaferSoundscapeOurSonic1993a], a direct goal of the project was to encourage awareness between space and sound. These design choices have certainly made an impact on me, and I always look forward to exploring more of the soundscapes of transit in Taiwan. In this sense, the following sound composition is also a humble nod to Barry Truax’s 1996 piece Pendlerdrøm (“Commuter dream”) [3]. Commissioned for a Danish audience, this “soundscape composition” involves exploring themes of commuting and transit, with recordings from the Danish Railway system. In terms of this post, I kept the same limitations in terms of effects as before, however, with the addition of Xenakio’s PaulStretch plugin, and also a delay effect. I recorded all sound assets with a pair of Soundman OKM II binaural in-ear microphones and my trusty Zoom H5.

Composition

References

[1] Jennifer C. Hsieh. Piano transductions: Music, sound and noise in urban Taiwan. Sound Studies, 5(1):4--21, 2019. [ bib ]
[2] Cathy Teng. Open Your Ears and Listen Anew - Redesigning the Metro Soundscape, 2018. Translated by Phil Newell. [ bib | http ]
[3] Barry Truax. Islands, 2001. Cambridge Street Records. CSR-CD 0101. Compact Disc. 63 min. [ bib ]

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