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.theguardian - 8 days ago

Rain on rooftops: the strange appeal of slow audio

First there was slow TV – now radio and podcasts are getting in on the act with ambient recordings of forest walks and bird callsModern Toss on audio podcastsFor 18 minutes, nothing interrupts the purr of insects bar the sound of kookaburras calling, and a solitary passing car. This is Field Recordings, a creation of the London-based radio producer Eleanor McDowall, “a podcast where audio-makers stand silently in fields”. Boasting submissions from all over the world, the first episode debuted in March and captures the sounds of an Australian town at dusk. Highlights from the more than 70 episodes since include a recording from the inside of a hollow tree in Russia, which becomes an orchestra of creaks and whistles as it sways in the wind. It is, in McDowall’s words, “a real banger”.Field Recordings was born after a tough year in which McDowall experienced the end of a relationship and began to feel burnt out at work. Compiling this library of ambient soundscapes was part of her solution. “It felt like something that would give me a bit of space and respite,” she says. Many of us now adopt similar strategies to capture moments of contemplation, focus or distraction. Music-streaming platforms offer playlists tailored to heighten concentration. Guided-meditation apps offer complementary audio “soundscapes” such as “the cosy sound of rain on a cabin roof”. Continue reading...


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