Sound Surrounds: Field Recordings by Students of the Texas School for the Blind & Visually Impaired

Hey, lines community. I’m very excited to share with you all the latest release from Phonography Austin, in collaboration with the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired. It’s a digital release and free to download.

Sound Surrounds: Field Recordings by Students of the Texas School for the Blind & Visually Impaired.

Though you all clearly know how to follow a link and read the description on the Bandcamp page, I’ll copy that same information here, just to provide a little context before you head over there.

I’ll add this, however: I’m absolutely ecstatic by how this project turned out. It was a highly collaborative endeavor, and one that I hope to replicate in coming years. From a somewhat self-serving perspective, it’s fulfilling to facilitate a platform for these students, and I can’t thank them enough for trusting us with their recordings—a medium that plays an outsized role in many of their lives.

Here’s the liner notes:

Sound Surrounds is presented by Phonography Austin in collaboration with the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired.

Audio recording plays a significant role in the lives of individuals with visual impairment, often serving as their analogue to photography, where snapshots of sound can serve as aural memories. Visual impairment manifests across a spectrum, and students at TSBVI have varying levels of vision loss, including a range of deaf-blindness. In addition to recording audio to capture memories or for pure enjoyment, TSBVI students interpret sound to situate themselves in physical space or to recognize familiar voices. For students on the deaf-blind spectrum, sound takes on a more tactile nature, where exploring sounds is about feeling its vibrations with the body.

Through this compilation of field recordings, TSBVI students share a diversity of audio elements and events that represent their everyday lives. The project not only conveys the day-to-day sonic culture in which the students are immersed but also demonstrates self-determination, revealing part of their decision-making process for participation in and engagement with their surroundings through their choices of sounds. From recordings of Preston Phillips’s tactile exploration of the vibrations of an accordion and foot massager to the scratching of Lukas MacDonnell’s cane during music lessons, this project seeks to expand our notions of who listens and how we listen.

released May 11, 2019

Curated by Lacey Lewis and Travis P. Hill
Cover art by Ethan W.
Cover design by Travis P. Hill
Mastered by Alex Keller


love this, thank you so much for sharing!

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Thank you for lovin’ it!

The album itself is really coherent.
I’m curious about the gear used by the students.
Edit :
Ooops… And thank you for sharing!

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Thanks. I’m happy to hear that you felt that way. As I assembled the album, the flow became a very important aspect to it.

As for the gear they used, I’m not entirely sure. That’s something my colleague Lacey Lewis will be able to answer, and I’ll get back to you when I find out. Though I’m 99 percent sure the short answer is very simple gear—smartphones and dictaphones.

My assumptions were correct: The students mostly used their phones.

As the liner notes indicate, these students make recordings quite frequently as a part of their day-to-day lives, and much as many people without visual impairment take photo after photo with their cellphones, many of these students similarly capture audio.

Thanks for the info.
Around me, everybody use the phone to take photos and I am the only one who record sound snapshots regularly with kymatica audioshare.
In an interview, Orson Welles said that the difference between radio and cinema was the fact that with radio you get a bigger screen…