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Listen to Soundscapes from Home

  • October 29, 2020

In Seattle, Kim Gordon hears the garbage, recycling and food waste trucks all taking their 4:30 a.m. turns. In Calgary, Sheila Bean notices the occasional coyote “burst into a few moments of excited yipping.” On her family farm in Central Michigan, Glenda Warner perceives “just insect sounds, and maybe the sound of a distant fly flying by me.”

Shravani Rao hears “vacuums cleaning, babies crying, toilets flushing, beds creaking, footsteps and murmurs overhead and to the sides there are ringing landlines and one-sided conversations and we can only imagine what causes the laughter, the soliloquy of a dog barking somewhere blends with melancholy notes of R.E.M. playing on someone’s Alexa.”

Judy Martinez-Ross can’t escape a cacophony of “ear-shattering vehicles” in the desert hills of Moab, Utah: motorbikes screeching, A.T.V.s, and four-wheelers roaring their engines. In the Indiana woods, Larry D. Sweazy hears indigo buntings singing shyly, “the soothing trill of a hermit thrush or a migrating warbler offering a brief goodbye.” And Shary Grossman is hearing the sounds of sirens, car horns and construction, the rumbling of Metro-North trains, music blaring and tempers flaring outside her home in Manhattan.

Physically traveling to another place isn’t an option for most us right now, so listening to and imagining these sound diaries provides a little escape, at least for a moment. Thanks to everyone who sent theirs in.

If you’re up for further audio diversion, I’ve been appreciating Son Lux lately; their song “Dream State” has been residing in my brain since I first encountered it as the theme to HBO’s “The Vow.” This smart article from Vox, “What Was Fun?,” describes a difficult-to-articulate byproduct of quarantine. And I got lost in the strange 3-D tour of “The House on Blue Lick Road.” If you’ve been yearning to visit a haunted manor this Halloween, it should do the trick.

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