Echoes of South Kensington Station

South Kensington Tube station is the gateway to some of London’s famous museums – the Natural History museum, the Victoria and Albert and the Science Museum. To save people getting wet or wrangling the traffic along Exhibition Road, there is a long pedestrian walkway from the station to the museums.

It has a fabulous acoustic, one that’s enjoyed by small children, buskers and field recordists alike! I went to university at Imperial College and used this tunnel often. Even now, the soundmark takes me back to student times…

Here’s the sound of a busker using the acoustic well, and some kids enjoying the tunnel later on

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Robins at Alderman Canal

There is a little nature reserve by the canal near the football ground, an oasis of calm. The water is sluggish with green on top apart from where the water seems to well up from the river bed in these gently roiling clear pools. I don’t think the water makes any sound here, there is some background traffic noise which would mask it.

The nature reserve was improved by the Access to Nature project in 2012. It’s easy to be cynical about some of these projects but this one seems to have worked really well, and there was a lot more birdsong in this part of path by the canal than in the unimproved bits.

Swifts getting ready to leave

Seems like it’s been a successful year for our swifts, they have been breeding and screaming parties are heard overhead.

They’re still as hard to record as they were last year, however there are more of them it seems. I got the AT XY mics on the job this time. Maybe next year I will try a seriously long boom pole to get the mic pointed straight up in the air and use the directional pattern against some of the noise and traffic rumble of the town, but I’m still of the view swifts sound best in the city!

Flock of young Jackdaws begging food, Whitchurch, Hampshire

Flock of Jackdaws with young in trees by playing fields and trees by the River Test in Whitchurch. The calls of the young from all around come out in this binaural recording.

The sound of ball bearings seizing up

There’s a characteristic sound of bearings seizing up, and I first came across this with car wheel-bearings – they screech for weeks before going, but car sounds are hard to localise. Feeling the massive heft to the right in the fast lane of the A12 as the driver’s side wheel-bearing collapses and jams means I know that this sound means a bearing on the way out, even if here it is only on a neighbour’s Flymo 🙂

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