this is ¶radio hummingbird’s contribution to this week’s disquiet junto with the serial number 0436. in short, the requirement for this contribution was to provide a recent fieldrecording reflecting the changes to our sonic environments inflicted by the arrival of the corona virus pandemic.
location of recording: cologne, germany - inner city/barbarossaplatz
day of recording: may 09, 2020
time of recording: approx. 05:50 am
context: in the early morning of may 09th i recorded a little more than four continuous hours of the sonic urban environment from my balcony in the middle of a big german city. i live close to the centre along a busy thoroughfare and junction where a few main roads as well as a number of tram lines meet. furthermore, my area is lined with bars and clubs which usually makes for a rather noisy environment (if not exciting at times). however, due to the arrival of the global corona pandemic this changed significantly and i am now, for the first time, able to hear bird songs when out in the street. and surprisingly, there is quite a variety of unexpected species to be heard: peregrines, the flyover of ducks and geese, parakeets (yes, this city has a large amount of “wild” parakeets roaming the air), swifts and swallows, jackdaws and many many more…
choosing a representative section of my lengthy recording has, however been a challenge. the recording started with a beautiful dawn chorus of black birds and some other species joining in later, however, i had a pile of people drinking and chatting down on the road the whole night just until about 5:30 am which i found just a little too disruptive of the actual dawn chorus. you might wonder now: people drinking in groups out in the streets? indeed, the lock-down is significantly eased here already and this is now seemingly possible without any repercussions. traffic noticeably increased during the last two weeks as well and with it the noise levels.
so instead, i have opted to chose a snippet of the recording just after the the people loitering dispersed. the dawn chorus receded significantly by this point but you will still be able to hear the odd bird chirping on against the increasing traffic noise.
a significant portion of this recording clip does, however, pick up a person (homeless, disadvantaged or otherwise unable to sustain themselves) collecting all the leftover beer bottles to trade their deposit in for cash later in the day. i thought this is an important reminder of the people most affected by this crisis: vulnerable and, for whatever reason, disadvantaged humans had seen their means of survival disappear over night with no public social life taking place outdoors and nowhere safe and sustaining to go to. and this is something which should never be happening anyway, corona pandemic or not.
i gave the recording a light treatment with a compressor but otherwise did not apply any modifications other than fade ins and outs.
please enjoy what you hear………