The London Festival of Architecture's 2021 theme of Care couldn't provide a better opportunity for us to work with University of Tokyo's OTOCARE project to sonically enhance the spaces around London Bridge.
We've gone to 2 fine locations along by the bridge – Potters Fields Park and Gibbon's Rent – and brought in soundscapes by Kirk Barley and Elsa Hewitt, responding to each location.
For optimal listening experience, go there with your headphones, relax [and float downstream]. Headphones strongly advised.
IT IS SHINING, IT IS SHINING!
ARTIST: KIRK BARLEY TRACK: CUT THROUGH LOCATION: GIBBON'S RENT
ARTIST: ELSA HEWITT TRACK: POTTERS PARK LOCATION: POTTERS FIELDS PARK
ARTIST NOTES – KIRK BARLEY
As soon as you enter Gibbon's Rent, the environmental noise reduces around you and helps give a sense of calm, which you wouldn’t expect to find so close to bustling streets, It feels kind of special in a way, a hidden treasure lined with greenery on either side, and overshadowed by the peak of The Shard.
For my response I wanted to make something that was calming and also gave a slight mystical or magical feeling.
The piece starts with a short intro, with the aim to settle in the listener as they enter Gibbon's Rent alleyway. This intro is then followed by a long drone and sequence section, for which the synths are modulated at 5hz to create a particular beat frequency that is said to induce deep relaxation.
The piece then breaks out into a more free form section, with the reintroduction of more organic sounds – guitar, flute and bells. Perhaps a good time for peaceful listener reflection.
This slowly builds up into a rhythmic section, intended to bring the listener back into a more awake state before it ends, and they leave the space.
Sonically, I tried to respond to the juxtaposition of organic and synthetic materials in the Gibbon's Rent location by using a mix of organic and synthesised sounds. Rhythmically, all of the patterns within have been programmed using numbers from the Fibbonacci sequence: a sequence found over and over again in nature, be it the number of petals on a flower, or branches on a tree,
– Kirk Barley
ARTIST NOTES – ELSA HEWITT
Potter's Field Park
The piece is built around an ambient bed of simple guitar and synthesizer loops. The different parts flow in and out of time with each other like the thick currents of the Thames.
Buzzing synths interact disjointedly, in private whispers, seeking a resolution to their circling, before falling into each others arms. These silky, earthbound interweaving layers fade into the background as a folky acoustic guitar and vocal melody floats in, filling the open space with a spirited, human texture.
This heartfelt release subsides and disperses back into quietness, as the scattered ambience gradually starts to rebuild. A twinkling motif opens in the centre of the airy soundscape, guiding the wandering parts, slicing through the grey like birds flying through clouds. The slumber comes to a reviving end when the folk melody returns speeded up, swooping and gliding like Celtic fairies dancing merrily in the skies above a stormy island.
– Elsa Hewitt
MSCTY Explores new ways to experience the world through sound and space.