Overall Summary: In deciding what to listen to, I took into consideration my role in the sounds created. For the first one, neither myself nor any other person produced the noises, though the sounds were clearly man-made (mechanical) in the sense that they were caused by a man-made product acting on its own. It turned out to be very sporadic, but consistent as far as the actual sounds were concerned. The second session involved the washer and dryer at my house, once more mechanical noises but this time more directly caused by my own actions (I put in the clothes, detergent, and turn it on). In general, this sound was very much drone-like, continuous and not altering in the least bit. The third session was once more the result of man-made products and the actions of people (though not myself, but instead the drivers around me) but the sounds were the result of interaction between these man-made products and the world around them (the snow, sand, roadways) and proved to be very monotonous. The sounds were more or less continuous, but altered as the vehicles producing them came and went and altered position in relation to my person. The fourth session broke away from these man-made sounds and entered the world of ‘nature,’ what was most noticeable is that, aside from the stream by my house, there was an incredible silence/stillness almost entirely lacking in out daily lives. I personally enjoy it, but there is a degree of weirdness involved in not hearing something since as the previous sessions show, we are pretty much bombarded with noises constantly. What was most interesting is that in the mechanical world of man, continuous sounds become almost a drone, or background noise that seem to simply exist without our considering it further. In the natural world, the streams gurgling remained very much fresh and active in my mind, soothing but never simply a background noise.

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  1. Session 1: Thursday, February 16th. 9pm My room (apartment)
    Variation 1: Listen to the distinct sounds of the heater emanating from the wall by my bed.
    “Sporadic, rapid, ascending and descending, spacey, consistent sounds, not necessarily related (no obvious action/reaction), fluttering, popping.”
    Variation 2: How do these sounds interact?
    “The popping sound alters in speed most, at times picking up very rapidly (like a machine gun) and at other time slowing down and leaving a lot of space between noises. Two other noises are distinguishable, one like the clang of metal is most rare and also the least inclined to increasing in speed (decreasing space between the sounds), the other is something of a bang but when it occurs one after another sounds like the flapping of wings. At various times a build up to a crescendo takes place.”

    Summary: For my first listening session I chose something ‘unnatural’ as well as something outside of my own control. The sounds are very much the result of being produced by humans, with sharp bangs and clangs and pops that would not be heard in ‘nature.’ Though there is no apparent connection between the noises (aside from the fact that they arise from the same cause), and therefore the sounds in general are sporadic, there is a consistency in the actual sounds emanating from my wall.

  2. Session 2: Monday, February 20th. 7:33PM Laundry room (home)
    Variation 1: Attempt to distinguish the various noises produced by the washer and dryer.
    “Washer: slosh noise, mechanic, routine/continuous, chugging/train-like noise.
    Dryer: Drone, continuous, sporadic clicks/clangs.”
    Variation 2: Focus on the more sporadic sounds.
    “The click/clang sound pops in and out, very sporadic.It moves within the dryer (as in at various times it might come from one side of the dryer, at the next another). Very sudden noises, almost a scratching sound at times, slight echo. The three principal drone-noises form a fringe on which the click/clang can be measures spatially.”

    Summary: For my second listening session, I chose something that was (once more) mechanical/man-made but in this case was caused by my own action, since I started the washer and the dryer. Most of the noises (the sloshing of the washer, the train-like chugging from the washer, and the continuous humming of the dryer) were very much mechanical and after a few minutes are noticeable only as a sort of background that blends together. The click/clang (the result of my jacket zipper whipping around inside the dryer) is sporadic and becomes a primary focus of my ears every time it suddenly goes off.

  3. Session 3: Tuesday, February 21st. 5pm Biddeford Park and Ride
    Variation 1: What are the sounds of travel?
    “Drawn out, moving in relation to where I stand, not very sporadic, but also not necessarily continuous/mechanic. Almost a drone after a while.”
    Variation 2: Sounds in space: movement of sound.
    “Two principal sounds: ‘slosh’ and ‘moan’. Moan is usually further off, drawn out, and sounds slightly different suggesting movement towards and away from my person. The slosh is closer though still in movement around me, consists of two parts: initial splash which is active and the resultant crashing response.”

    Summary: While awaiting a friend, I decided to listen to the sounds of the travelling vehicles around me. In this case, these are once again man-made sounds but this time produced by others (in the sense that by driving they are producing the noises). I was quite literally surrounded by sounds, with long, drawn out moan/howl like sounds coming principally from the direction of I-95 and the more sudden (though still drawn out) sound of car tires going through slush and sand. Each sound was often multiplied at any point (as in various cars would be making the same sound at the same time) lending a certain build up to the noises. After about ten minutes the barrage of noise had become very much a drone in the background as my ears searched for other sounds.

  4. Session 4: Thursday, February 23rd. 11:13pm Outside of my home (in middle of no-where)
    Variation 1: What sounds are there?
    “Gurgling sound that is pretty much continuous. Distant, drawn out moan/howl occurring sporadically.”
    Variation 2: Listen to the stillness, the lack of sound.
    “With there only being one sound that occurs on a regular basis (the gurgling) there is very little to focus on. The drawn out moan (howling coyotes, likely) is always very sudden.”

    Summary: This time I decided on listening to the ‘natural’ world. Aside from the small stream by the house, there was an incredible silence hanging in the air. To my ears (which, from this experience, I’ve discovered are very much surrounded by noises, often ‘unnatural’) this silence was almost a sound in and of itself. Contrary to my previous experience, the gurgling of the stream did not even really descend into a purely background noise because there was so little else occurring.

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