Soundproofist

17 | The London Street Noises project

October 22, 2020 Soundproofist Episode 17
Soundproofist
17 | The London Street Noises project
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Soundproofist
17 | The London Street Noises project
Oct 22, 2020 Episode 17
Soundproofist

A team of audio specialists at Goldsmiths, University of London joined Soundproofist to discuss their fascinating soundscape project. After digitizing some historic 1928 recordings of London street noises, they return to the exact same sites to record the street sounds again. They've made these newer recordings on the same day in September and at the same time of day as the original recordings, starting in 2008. What have they learned about the soundscape of London, then and now? Tune in to find out.

Show Notes Transcript

A team of audio specialists at Goldsmiths, University of London joined Soundproofist to discuss their fascinating soundscape project. After digitizing some historic 1928 recordings of London street noises, they return to the exact same sites to record the street sounds again. They've made these newer recordings on the same day in September and at the same time of day as the original recordings, starting in 2008. What have they learned about the soundscape of London, then and now? Tune in to find out.

Cary (00:06):
This is episode 17 of Soundproofist. And my name is Cary.

Phill (00:12):
And I'm Phill.

Cary (00:13):
And today we're talking with an interesting team of researchers and acoustics experts about their ongoing project called "London Street Noises." They're documenting the street sounds of very specific locations in London like Leicester Square. These sites were chosen based on some recordings that were actually captured in 1928 at the same locations. We'll learn about those recordings past and present and what they tell us about daily life in London.

Phill (00:42):
I didn't know about London street noises until Cary introduced me to it. They have some fascinating recordings from London in 1928. And they have a wonderful project that explains the history of acoustics and soundscape in London from then, and very interesting stuff.

Cary (01:00):
But first let's meet the team. John Drever is a professor of acoustic ecology and sound art at Goldsmiths University of London.

John Drever (01:10):
My name's John. So I'm a professor of acoustic ecology and sound at Goldsmiths. My background is music and sonic art, but I'm also qualified in acoustics.

Cary (01:19):
Aysegul Yildirim is a researcher at Goldsmiths.

Aysegul Yildirim (01:24):
Actually, I don't have a background in acoustics. I have a background in sociology and criminology and I'm currently doing a PhD in sociology at Goldsmiths University. And John is one of my supervisors. My relation with sound and noise comes from my PhD project, which is on the effects of aircraft noise on individuals and communities.

Cary (01:48):
And Mattia Cobianchi is an acoustic engineer.

Mattia Cobianchi (01:52):
Well, I initially started in electronic engineering back in Italy, in Rome with intention to work in the audio sector. And I managed to work for many professional companies after finishing my Masters in 2005. But soon after that I started also to become interested in environmental acoustics. And I did a diploma in acoustics at Ferarra University in Italy. And soon after that, I started also to work with a company, Architettura Sonora, which is manufacturing acoustics system for indoor and outdoor applications, which was doing very interesting stuff in terms of a soundscape approach. To manage noise issues in urban areas, and especially parks and gardens. And that's also when and where I started to become very interested in soundscapes, after environmental and technical acoustics. And finally, in 2013, I moved from Italy to the UK to join Bowers and Wilkins, a hi-fi company which was renowned for speakers and headphones. And I bumped into a interesting ad for a collaborative doctor award at Goldsmiths. I got the award and I started this PhD part-time with John as my supervisor in adaptive soundscape composition and basically picked up the research doc in 2009-2010.

Cary (03:25):
Can you describe the London Street Noises projects?

John Drever (03:30):
So the starting point is an amazing record by Columbia Records from 1928, which is called "London Street Noises." And one side is a recording from Leicester Square. The other side is recording from Beauchamp Place. And what's extraordinary is that we have this voice of someone called "Commander Daniel, " who introduces the recordings. And he tells us exactly the time and the date, so we know the location whilst he's making the recording. So he talks through the recordings...

Sample from 1928 (04:14):
[street noise]

John Drever (04:16):
And this was 1928. So it was really pioneering field recording. So this was the starting point. And back in 2008, I was aware that it was the 80th anniversary of the recordings. So I was able to go back to one of the locations on Beauchamp Place. And some PhD students went to Leicester Square at exactly the same date and time to record the 80th anniversary. And then 10 years later, we had the 90th anniversary last year. And I did a bit more research and I suddenly became aware that there was a whole set of recordings made at this time, which were in a box in the Archive Museum of London. And then did more research because this project was supported by the Daily Mail. I looked into the Daily Mail archive. And suddenly we'd become aware of many, many articles around 1928, about the effects of noise on health and well-being.

John Drever (05:03):
So that's really this kind of exciting point. And a really interesting gap in history seems to be an important moment actually in acoustics and soundscapes and field recording. I haven't really... it's not in the history books, so it's really exciting. 

Cary (05:17):
Yeah. I've listened to some of them. And it's really quite a cacophony in 1928. And part of it is the narrato'r's voice that's a little bit similar to what you hear sometimes in the old newsreels, kind of a high-pitched sound. So I'm not sure if that was really some of the timbre of everything was exactly as it sounded on this street. Because [making high voice] "his voice sounds a little like this," you know. But the amount of actual just din on the streets...there's a noise, but it's a different sound. And I think part of it might be the cobblestone streets and the types of motors that were prevalent back then. I was very surprised.

John Drever (05:58):
We have a nostalgia for a kind of quieter time and we imagine 1928 as a wonderful time period, but actually it wasn't. It was ... as we can hear from the recordings, it was noisy.

Cary (06:10):
Yeah. Apparently it was very noisy. I was really quite surprised.

Phill (06:14):
Well, can I ask a question about that time period as well? Because it seems like there's a lot of articles written about how the noise was a growing concern for businesses and people in the city. And as we hear it's quite cacophonous in the recording on your website. They said that they did eventually do some mandate for restricting horns on automobiles. What other kind of... is there other legislation or remedies that people would do to try to deal with this noise that you've discovered?

Aysegul Yildirim (06:42):
So they take the recordings throughout September 1928. And first of all the Home Secretary and other officials listened to those recordings. All these things happen very quickly. I mean, within September they pick the recording of five locations and the Ministers listened to it. The Home Secretary was pretty much impressed by it. He actually used to live in one of those areas, in which the recordings were taken: Cromwell Road. So he was actually quite a keen supporter of the project. And they did organize a conference to discuss...draft regulations on traffic noise. However, I don't think we have evidence on how the legislation negotiations went. So we have legislation in 1931 which is called "Road traffic and road traffic act" -- wasn't it, John? And yeah, it's not until 1931 that motor horns and the use of motor vehicles are regulated.

Cary (08:01):
So about three years from the time that the recordings were made. Which in the legislation world that might actually not be unrealistic. And that's actually probably good.

John Drever (08:12):
They were trying out quiet zones, as well as in parts of London to restrict the honking of horns. And I find that they're quite cute. They're kind of lovely compared to the modern electric horns.

Cary (08:24):
The deeper horns that we have now. Yeah. And the backup beeps that we have now, I've seen an old video for example, of San Francisco in 1906, just before the earthquake. And they have a camera mounted on the streetcar going all the way down Market Street. And it was just kamikaze the way that people drove, at least in this video. So possibly these horns were just used with no traffic lights and other forms of traffic management. It was just a way of saying, "Hey, I'm over here. Get out of the way. "

Aysegul Yildirim (09:00):
I just wanted to add that it is clearly stated that in the 1931 regulations not to use motor horns in order to annoy people. Just to use it when it's absolutely necessary.

John Drever (09:19):
And... That's in the Highway Code. That's when the Highway Code appears around this time. And so the one of the Highway Code regulations is when you can use your horn.

Phill (09:27):
Do y'all have any concept of the architecture there? I mean, I assume buildings then were much different than now, so the amount of noise that would be blocked from the walls would be much different. Do you have any sense of the differences in architecture then and now, and how that would impact the traffic noise on residents?

John Drever (09:44):
Probably not. I think a lot of locations -- Cromwell Road is beside the Natural History Museum. And so these buildings were already there. And a lot of the areas actually haven't changed. They're quite classic London locations, Leicester Square. Well, Leicester Square -- interesting now, it's now pedestrianized in modern London. But it wasn't then. I guess that's one change. I guess there are... but it's quite an open space. So these specific locations are quite similar. I mean, one of the locations was where St. George's Hospital was. In fact, the hospital's moved now, but we did record in the same location. Which is kind of what you call Hyde Park Corner. So that hospital is gone, but it was very interesting they actually chose that location because they were concerned about the effects of traffic noise on the people in the hospital.

Aysegul Yildirim (10:28):
Another thing is, so there are two residential areas. Well, then residential. They are Cromwell Road and Beauchamp Place. So Beauchamp Place is a very small street. And back then it suddenly becomes an alternative route to the main roads it's linked to. So there's suddenly big lorries and motor cars driving through the tiny streets and making considerable disturbance to the residents. But today it's changed. It's mostly shops and restaurants in there.

Cary (11:09):
One thing that I noticed in the newer recordings was the traffic seems to be moving faster and more smoothly. So it's still a lot of noise, but it was a combination also of horses back then, as well as motor vehicles. But also it's more of a swooshing sound as the traffic light changes. And you hear a lot of cars, almost like water, almost like an ocean noise at times. And then you get to the pandemic and one of the locations was just the sound of pigeons. You know, there was almost silence except for the pigeons.

John Drever (11:50):
One location, the one that remains has an extractor fan at the side of a hotel, which is very loud, actually. It becomes more prominent. Mattia has been studying these. Cromwell Road. You can hear over the... From the recording just made shortly before. The fan's kind of in the background, but then the fan... I made the recording in pretty much the same location. So the traffic's gone down, but the fan is still, it's quite loud. There's a lot of high frequency as well as low frequency in this case. But it's still dominant. Mattia has been analyzing the different recordings actually from those eras.

Cary (12:22):
Yeah, it really shows you how different types of frequencies and different types of noise can disturb people. But also sometimes a quiet location with one really disturbing sound is actually worse than multiple sounds that are continuous.

Aysegul Yildirim (12:38):
It was actually featured in the newspaper article exactly as you described. So intermittent noise is more disruptive of sleep and rest than a continuous drone of traffic.

Cary (12:58):
Going back to 1928, do you feel like you've gotten some insights into the culture of London at that time from these recordings?

Aysegul Yildirim (13:06):
Absolutely. I mean, for me, the most notable example might be St George's Hospital. So St George's Hospital is one of the key locations that did the recording the sound recording. And each patient was given headphones, and they're listening to Proms concerts in their headphones. So that's interesting. I mean, I'm just thinking aloud... so it might say something about their taste in music. So why not Duke Ellington? Why not Louis Armstrong? But, BBC Proms. So St George's Hospital is one of the oldest hospitals in London. So it must be very proud and important in London's history,

John Drever (13:56):
Wonderful whistling, in one of the recordings. It reminds us of traditional whistling. We don't really whistle much anymore. You know, whistling a tune. And it's a really powerful tune that cuts right through the recording.

Phill (14:08):
I just wanted to clarify if I understood this correctly, they gave the patients in the hospital headphones to listen to in order to, mask the noise of the streets.

Aysegul Yildirim (14:18):
Yeah.

Cary (14:21):
I didn't even know there *were* headphones in 1928. That's just shows how naive I am.

Aysegul Yildirim (14:28):
Yeah.

Cary (14:29):
I thought they were a much more modern invention and I wonder, what were they connected to? Did they all have to sit around some sort of giant console with a cable?

John Drever (14:38):
I think they were doing live broadcast, the live broadcast from the Albert Hall, which is not that far down the road and listening to the Proms concerts of the day.

Cary (14:47):
Really interesting. And they were ahead of their time. And we've had other conversations through this podcast with people who specialize in hospital noise and also in dementia ward soundscapes. So we think we're having these conversations as new. And here, almost a hundred years ago, they were using headphones for people in hospitals as a calming effect. It's really interesting.

John Drever (15:09):
This was after the first World War and an awareness of shell shock, which was a kind of recognized phenomenom then. And particularly hospitals, and actually some of the language used about the effects of the traffic noise is a bit like shell shock on the ears. So that was a kind of very large cultural awareness of noise impacting on people's well-being and their mental health. A big issue with the recordings is that decibels hadn't really, I mean decibels was a thing that hadn't been really recognized as a way of measuring loudness at this stage. Very shortly it would be. So the sound recordings were used as a way of demonstrating loudness, which is really interesting. And then of course, the decibel kind of takes over and that kind of shifts the agenda. And then when acoustics are more focused on the effects of noise on hearing loss. But in this era, we learned from the articles that the concern was about the effect of noise on people's nerves, on their impact on sleep, on their becoming less efficient in the workplace. So it's quite a different way of thinking about the effects of noise. In some ways more contemporary, because it's more about a holistic effect rather than just hearing damage.

Cary (16:15):
Interesting. I mean both are relevant. But yeah, if you just focus on hearing damage, the problem with that at times is... For example, in the United States, the common goal is to not expose someone to 85 decibels or more for more than eight hours. But what about those first eight hours? You know, that's a lot of time to be exposed to 85-decibel noise, and that has more than just hearing loss impact on your health. The stress level of *seven* hours of 85 decibel noise is not something that I think is acceptable, either.

John Drever (16:47):
And that number 85 doesn't tell you that much as well.

Cary (16:50):
Right. Exactly. I actually just -- for the past three weeks -- have had a massive road construction project going on directly outside my apartment windows that far exceeded 85 decibels. But there were times when certain equipment that they were using was... I was measuring, of course, but there were times when it was showing up as maybe 67 decibels inside my apartment with the windows shut. But that doesn't mean it was an okay amount of noise when I was trying to get my work done. It was quite loud and distressing because it was, you know, jack hammers. So it was 67 decibels, but so is my stereo if I'm playing a record. So it doesn't tell you really the impact of that noise on residents.

Phill (17:33):
So I know Mattia might have to jump off early. So I want to make sure I asked this question now. John had mentioned that you're doing comparative analysis of these audio recordings. Can you tell us a little bit about that process and what kind of analysis you're doing?

Mattia Cobianchi (17:50):
Well, we've just started. We've prepared some material that we have partially presented during the online launch event and during the Beauchamp Place armchair soundwalk that we hosted on a Sunday. And we have basically put side-by-side the spectrograms of these recordings to help visualize and not only hear the differences. So that for example, we can see how the sounds of horns are as John... was noting before, it's quite different because of the technology used in horns, sirens were completely absent because they were only stored much later in the fifties on emergency vehicles. They didn't use sirens at the time they used something like bells or other horns, but not the sirens that we are familiar with nowadays. And it's also interesting to hear, for example, the sound of a steam engines. At the time, there were still steam engines and combustion engines like the ones we use nowadays.

Mattia Cobianchi (18:55):
So they were sort of still living together. And so we found something similar in terms of comparison, much later, although we have not uploaded and made these recordings available yet. We also have that in 2008, we still had, diesel taxis in London with a very specific sounds, or noise if you want. While in 2018, 10 years later, diesel engines have been banned. And there is no trace of that type of noise of the diesel engine. And what is also interesting, especially for the lockdown recordings is the absence of traffic has actually made visible and audible... Visible in the spectrograms and audible in the recordings when you play them back. But that are actually always, there is not that we have not seen for years and years. And all of a sudden they are back to the cities. A lot of species are actually, iving in London all the time.

Mattia Cobianchi (19:59):
Parakeets, magpies, crows. So you have a lot of birds that you will normally completely miss because they're simply masked by the traffic noise. And in the sound, in the recordings during lockdown, these sounds of their calls are actually much more audible. And it's also very good to observe in the spectrogram. You can see them also just above some vehicle pass bys. It sounds like they stop when there is a lot of noise. Sometimes it's like they know that they won't be able to get through to whoever it is that they're communicating with, other members of the species. So of course, but they stop and then they pick up the conversation just after that car has gone by.

Cary (20:51):
Some of the soundscape projects during the pandemic, that's been sort of a common theme is like the bird song that no one knew was there. But you're actually doing something where you will be able to compare this. You will have data to compare year by year now, which is really going to be super helpful.

Mattia Cobianchi (21:11):
No, it's very interesting. It's important to stress that whenever we are listening to snapshots of what is a street on a specific day, in a specific year, we are not claiming that that is representative of what that year sounded like, because we have not the sort of assumption of being able to do like an average when you do quantitive analysis and you gather a lot of data and you've struck something which is representative of the mean, or the average. In this case, we have like a picture. That picture could be a very lucky day where the weather was nice and you have sunny day and everything looks gorgeous. And then you can be instead visiting the same place one year later, and it's very bleak and cloudy and dark. It doesn't mean that you have captured the essence of the place, it's just a snapshot.

Mattia Cobianchi (22:11):
It's still very interesting. And some, of course, knowing more about the places have in understanding how much those sounds are, or not very common in those places like the diesel engine. So we know that they were quite common in London. So that is a good example of something that can be compared -- the presence or the absence of that type of engine noise. But in some other cases, we cannot really say "this era is quieter or louder" or is "better or worse." It simply doesn't make sense to try and construct these type of conclusions from just recordings done in a few locations in London.

John Drever (22:55):
Yeah, well, this year, because we got interested in Beauchamp Place in particular. And this year, the day is on a Sunday. But actually it was a Thursday, I think if I remember correctly, in the original recording. But what was great was on the 90th anniversary. It actually happened to the same day of the week as well. So we were able to compare a Thursday from 1928 on the same exact date, but in October at that date to the, to 90 years later on a Thursday at one o'clock at the same time of day. So that was nice.

Aysegul Yildirim (23:21):
And I just wanted to add to a point that Mattia has made. I think it's very important to know that to make a proper history on urban sound environments is tricky. Because sound recordings on their own don't tell you much things. But I think it's very lucky that it's a newspaper point initiative.

Aysegul Yildirim (23:46):
So you have lots of written commentary. And I think it's a treasure. And well, it also has to do with journalism and the style of journalism. I think that investigative journalism, which we don't see at all today because investigative journalists, these days, they only focus on the extraordinary events like wars, like terrors, but they don't focus on the everyday life, pretty much. So what happened here -- they captured a glimpse of everyday urban life, and with sound recordings and with commentary and with lots of stories. And it, doesn't only include the elite of the society as in the most cases of campaigns against against noise. But it includes it's welcoming to invite members of the public. So that's what makes this project very important. I think.

John Drever (24:46):
Yeah. So the Daily Mail ... I mean, on the 80th anniversary, I'd said, no, I hadn't done my Daily Mail research then. On the 90th anniversary, I had done the research. And there's photographs and Daily Mail pointing to "here's the microphone." Had to do a bit of homework then. So, the streets have slightly changed, the numbers changed, the shops have changed. But the Beauchamp Place there was a clothes shop and it's now turned into a fancy restaurant. But I could work out the shape of the arch, exactly where the microphone was, which was really exciting.

Cary (25:13):
I was curious to know about some of the soundwalks you've been organizing. You had one just last month. And I think you did one last year as well in September. And is this associated with capturing more recordings for this project or just in general, trying to interest more people in listening to the sounds of London.

John Drever (25:33):
Soundwalks have got lots of different functions. I think in this regard it was us tuning into the place on the location, getting people to listen to the location together and share listening. And then we could share the app we've been working on also share historical recordings. And then have that discussion in situ in those locations. And some exciting things happened. People joined us and people saw us with microphones, they'd stop. And they'd say, "Oh, what are you doing?" And then we'd say, well, it's about traffic noise and I could show them actually, a photograph "Here's a photograph taken in 1928 and this recording was made." And then people go, "Oh, we need to talk to you." We've got, you know, people suddenly got very opinionated and there's an interesting story that came up, which I wasn't aware of.

John Drever (26:15):
It actually was a really big story. That's in that part of London, which is a very upmarket part of London. It's beside Harrod's, basically Beauchamp Place and Sloane Square in the evenings. A lot of people had very high-level sports cars, Lamborghinis and Ferraris, which they race around the streets of London making lots of noise late at night. So that became a big issue. And it's actually the government's been trying to control noise levels of all these high-speed sports cars that somehow escape noise-legislation issues. So there's suddenly you tune into a kind of contemporary noise debates just by being in the streets. And people talking to us. And then what happens. And of course you get kind of serendipity. So there was a moment when we were recording where suddenly we heard police whistles being blown. You know, very old fashioned police whistles, which have been around since the late 1880s or so. And I think it was royalty. I mean, so in Britain, when the royalty comes past, you have motorbikes coming with police whistles, and they stop the streets. And then this car zoomed past, but it was very nice to catch the sound of police whistles, which is an ancient sound going back, you know, more than a hundred years, it's still being used, still penetrates the soundscape. Powerful, powerful device.

Cary (27:22):
And somewhat unique to London possibly. I mean, I can't say that we hear them in other cities.

John Drever (27:30):
On a motorbike, blowing a whistle. It's like a funny, kind of archaic but it works. I've seen it in Hong Kong, to do a kind of British colonial thing that this spread of the whistle, I should do some more research...

Cary (27:40):
It's sort of like you could have sort of a quiz -- without showing any visuals -- capture the sounds of a number of cities and then ask people, "what city is this?" I guess you'd have to have been in some of those cities or watched a lot of films or something to know the answer in some cases. But that's really interesting about the police whistles. I did want to ask you about a little bit about your process of transferring the recordings. I know you covered this in a seminar I went to. Of how you actually transferred the recording, which was, I think on a shellacked disc to a digital format. That was not really an easy process, was it?

John Drever (28:16):
Mattia? And there's a colleague named Ian Stonehouse who did that work, but maybe Mattia knows a bit of that process.

Mattia Cobianchi (28:22):
Yes, this was done in the electronic music studios at Goldsmith by Ian Stonehouse in mid-January, 2019. And he used a Stanton turntable with a specific cartridge for shellac discs, which is different from the one used for vinyls. And the digitization was done on a Avid Pro Tools platform, according to the audio preservation guidelines of the International Association of Sound and Audio Visual Archives. Which means basically even though the recordings themselves on shellac are not that hi-fi in terms of resolution and frequency range, the digitization was done at the maximum possible bit depth and sampling rate of 24-bit and 192 kilohertz. And once the recording was available as a digital file, ideally there should be an equalization curve also called the de-emphasis applied. The equalization curve was there in all of the shellac and vinyl disc recording to sort of maximize the quality and especially compensate a little bit to the figurative noise during the recording.

Mattia Cobianchi (29:34):
And also during the playback by emphasizing the high-frequency content during the recording. But until probably the fifties, there were a lot of different, equalization curves used by different companies and for different purposes. And since we don't have the information about which equalization curve was used back in 1928, all of those digital files have been left completely untouched and un-equalized. This doesn't mean that in the future, maybe doing some more research, we won't be able to find a reliable source for which is the exact equalization curve to use. And then we can maybe make the recordings sound a little bit more natural, but I think that even as they are, they are still very intelligible and can tell us a lot. I think it's to be expected when you listen to a recording from such a long time ago.

Mattia Cobianchi (30:35):
Let's not forget also that 1928 was just three years later than the first electric recording was really started. Before that it was a acoustic and mechanical recording. So big horns used to amplify the sounds that you wanted to record. And these would then be transduced and transmitted directly to a stylus, which would carve a wax cylinder. or a wax disc. In 1925, they started to use microphones, vacuum tube amplifiers, and the electric recording era started. So it's still very early days. And I think it's still astonishing how we can sort of capture and listen almost 100 years later to those sounds people, vehicles, horses, and Commander Daniel's voice and commentary.

Cary (31:32):
Yeah. I think your website noted that the recordings were done in some cases just hanging a microphone on the outside of a building, outside a window. That was the height of technology, probably back then to just be able to do that.

John Drever (31:45):
Yeah. And they had to hook up the discs with ovens and get to a specific temperature to then hand it over to immediately record. And for only like about four minutes. So the complexity and the space and the kit was just enormous. I mean, it's a huge effort.

Mattia Cobianchi (32:03):
I'm not an expert in this field. This is Ian Stonehouse's field of expertise -- audio preservation. And I assume it's the preservation of most artifacts, whether they are audio files, images, or other type of media would normally be done always with a state-of-the-art technology, I would assume. And I also think there is sort of a sense in using the maximum possible resolution and sampling rates. Thinking what may be possible to do at a later stage with different technologies to retrieve more information from these recordings. So there was some restoration attempted with some plugins, but the result was still not good enough. Often when you try to remove noise, you also remove some of the information that's there. And this is mainly related to the algorithms that you use. It's quite possible that in five years time, the power available and the algorithms developed in the meanwhile will allow to do all your restoration at a much higher standard. And maybe we could remove a lot of the hissing noise without losing the high-frequency details still relevant high-frequency because the bandwidth to this recording stops at around five kilohertz, which would be almost top of the vocal range, but you still have a lot of intelligibility there for voice in the higher-pitch sounds. And so hopefully in the future, we may be also be able to improve a little bit the quality of this recording when new techniques become available.

Cary (33:57):
Do you use the Hush City app at all? I think I had the idea that you have Echoes interactive soundwalks, and I believe you're also working with Antonella Radicchi with Hush City. Is that correct?

Mattia Cobianchi (34:11):
That's sort of, that is a very personal connection because Antonella is one of my best friends. And we met when I was actually working in Florence with Sonora and she was finishing her PhD in Florence. And she was interested in what we were doing in Architetura Sonora. And basically we started to collaborate and then we became very good friends. And yes, we have used the Echoes app, Hush City as a link to, subject users of the Echoes app when they enter our own geo-located soundwalk to also record and share their own recordings of the places they are visiting with the Echoes soundwalk. Of course, Hush City is meant to be used as a tool to map quiet areas, which cannot really be set for many of the locations of the London street project. But it's still a good chance to document what those places also sound like for all of the different users that have visited those places in different days and different time of the day.

Cary (35:32):
Do you want to limit the locations in London to the same locations that you've been documenting so far? Or do you want to expand to other areas?

Mattia Cobianchi (35:45):
I would say we will probably improve and expand the amount of material and analysis that we have on those original recordings. We're not planning to cover more locations. That's already the excellent London soundmap by Ian Ross, which covers a lot of locations and maybe a different type of sound in London. And I think for us, it makes sense to use all of the regional Daily Mail campaign locations as a case study because we have those original recordings and it makes sense to keep comparing and to studying across time and across what's happening in those locations. As I mentioned, we have some additional recordings from 2008 that we are preparing to be uploaded onto the soundmap on the [???] website. And we are working on some more analysis, both as I mentioned, with spectograms and also in terms of historical analysis.

Mattia Cobianchi (36:50):
So the sound, the story of those neighborhoods. So I think that is where we can really add our own values as researchers and also this unique combination of different skills in our team.

John Drever (37:06):
There's one location that I'm interested to add. Which is I saw it in Virginia Woolf talking about stepping out to the streets in October of 1928. I forget the date now. And she mentioned this in "A Room of Her Own." And it's just about a month after the London Street Noise recording and she talks about stepping out into the street where she lives and she describes the traffic and actually it's very quiet. She talks about how it's surprisingly quiet, and she goes into lots of detail and that's great. Because she says exactly the date and time and all that. So I'm keen to maybe add that as an interesting location, that's in Bloomsbury. And that could be a good location to record. To where we have a record of it through literature rather than a recording, but it still gives us an impression.

Phill (37:48):
Really fascinating, interesting history. So glad to hear about the project and can't wait for the hundredth anniversary. Let's hope we make it.

Cary (38:00):
I'd really like to thank John, Aysegul, and Mattia for talking with us today on Soundproofist about this exciting project. You can learn more about it at their website at londonstreetnoisesdotco.uk, or listen to some of those recordings on SoundCloud. I'll put some links on the Soundproofist blog for you. Thanks for listening.