Zack Lee's blog

Soundwalk: 9:09

Posted at — Sep 11, 2019

Soundwalk 9:09 by John Luther Adams is two 9 minutes and 9 seconds long soundwalk tracks made to be listened while walking between The Met 5th Avenue and The Met Breuer.

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The piece consists of two parts that are “Uptown” (Walking from the Met Breuer to the Met 5th Avenue) and “Downtown” (Walking from the Met 5th Avenue to the Met Breuer).

Before the journey, I took some time finding the right listening balance between “live” and “recorded sounds” so I can hear both as it is suggested in the description.

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As I started walking down the 5th avenue while listening to “Uptown”, I thought the bell-like drone from soundwalk blends well with the street noise (footsteps, vehicles, breezes). I was expecting a narration but it was all drone sound from beginning to end. However, I liked the metalic drone sound which slowly varies in tone and loudness over time.

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Listening to “Downtown” while walking down the opposite direction was a bit different experience. I could feel there’s more noise element than the tone element and they varied more often and dynamically. I could notice the “recorded sounds” much more than the “live” sounds compared to when listening to “Uptown”.

Overall, I think the composer did a great job in creating sounds that blend pretty well with the ambient noises of the 5th Avenue. Also, I think he tried to create “Downtown” more dark and dynamic to express busy, crowded aspect of downtown area which has been done successfully in my opinion.

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