Corby Walking Festival

We now have a new version of the Echo Location Sound map… created by Kathy Hinde and Ed Holroyd. There are some new features including the possibility to choose a ‘focus place’ which are based on where specific echo location soundmapping activities have taken place. Of course, you can add sounds anywhere and at any time, but we also are keen to make connections with people on a local level, and run sound recording walks to build a sound map of particular places.. so far we have Bedford and Corby area… more to follow.

For the 2013 Corby Walking Festival, Fermynwoods Contemporary Arts commissioned artists Kathy Hinde and Aaron Head to work with walkers and members of the public to turn walked routes into musical instruments.

Aaron Head lead walks where members of the public recorded sounds from the locations they traversed. After uploading the geo-tagged sounds to Hinde’s Echo Location website, participants played the online interface like a sequencer, effectively turning the walked routes into instruments.

Hinde’s Echo Location sound map is a participatory online and offline artwork that combines walking, listening, audio ecology, social networking and graphic scores. For the festival Hinde developed the map to specifically cover Corby and surrounding area.


Sunday 5 May 2013
A 3 mile sound mapping walk to Lyveden New Bield from the Skylark Café, Fermyn Woods Country Park.

Monday 6 May 2013
Peripatetic walks around East Carlton Countryside Park as part of the Corby Walking Festival Funday.

Aaron Head also worked with students from Woodnewton Primary School to populate the map in and around their school grounds.

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Listening – Thinking – Walking

Happy New Year !!… I’m very excited about the fact that 2012 is Cage’s centenary year and so I expect there will be a lot of Cage related events… there is a website dedicated to Cage’s birthday here. I have just been reading about Cage and his inspiration for creating his famous ‘silent’ composition of 1952, and his assertion that all sound can be music. I thought I would share this quote about listening from Brandon LaBelle’s book “Background Noise: Perspectives on Sound Art” 2006, page 13 - referencing Gemma Corriada Fiumara’s book “The Other Side of Language: A Philosophy of Listening” 1990.

” For Fiumara, to recover the verb logos, over its noun, is to reinstate “listening” within the tradition of Western thought, which “starts out to say and not to listen,” underpinning her call with an ethics, for ” we are not sufficiently conversant with the attitude of openness,” which listening supports; rather, knowledge makes claims on territories of thought. “A philosophy of listening can be envisaged as an attempt to recover the neglected and perhaps deeper roots of what we call thinking, an activity which in some way gathers and synthesizes human endeavours” In the same way, a philosophy of listening for Cage is an attempt to recover neglected and perhaps deeper roots of what we call “music,” for listening may gather in the total situation of not only sound but its context, …”

Which leads me on to thinking about the ‘listening walks’  we made on the Echo location workshops.  If listening can be thought of as an attempt to recover the deeper roots of what we call thinking – then walking can also be seen in this light.

A quote reflecting this from Rebecca Solnit’s “Wanderlust, A history of Walking” p5

“Walking, ideally, is a state of mind, the body, and the world are aligned, as though they were three characters finally in conversation together, three notes of the same chord. Walking allows us to be in our bodies and in the world without being made busy by them. It leaves us free to think without wholly being lost in our thoughts…  The rhythm of walking generates a kind of rhythm of thinking, and the passage through a landscape echoes or stimulates the passage through a series of thoughts.”

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Echo Location at The Pad

On Saturday 10th December Bedford Creative Arts held an event to showcase the Echo Location Sound map of Bedford. At the Pad I gave a short talk about the project and screened a short movie which is a recording of me playing with the soundmap, using it to try and make a musical soundscape from the uploaded sounds… have a look at the following movie – but select to watch it in HD, and full screen so you can see the text on screen and how the tags and user names are used…. to do this, press play to get the following options to appear at the bottom of the movie, then pause the movie to change settings. Press the ‘full screen’ button and then click on where it says 360p, and select 720p HD… which should make it much clearer. Then – press play again to watch and listen…

I also set up a Bedford-specific version of my ‘Soundlines’ installation which is made in collaboration with programmer Matthew Olden. Different areas of Bedford are projected as maps and the audience are invited to draw over the map using a graphics tablet. The drawing starts to reveal a satellite photo of the same area of Bedford, sounds recorded in those locations start to fade in – and also in surround sound in relation to their position on the map. This highlighted the soundscapes from different parts of the town, and provided another way to interact with the soundmap of Bedford as a musical interface.


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Installation at The Pad – this Saturday

Bedford Creative Arts are taking over The Pad for a couple of hours before the usual Saturday night madness with an interactive installation by Artist Kathy Hinde of the Echo Location project, which has seen groups of Bedfordians mapping the town through sound recording.  This installation uses surround sound and projection and invites you to draw sound lines across maps of Bedford to generate your own sound compositions from the sounds of the town.
Kathy Hinde is an Internationally renowned multimedia artist who has recently collaborated with Will Gregory (one half of the chart-topping duo, Goldfrapp) at London’s South Bank. Her work has been featured across Europe, South America and South East Asia and sound plays an important part of her work. In fact, it’s Bedford’s cultural diversity and bustling weekend activity that gave her no hesitation in accepting BCA’s invitation to premiere her Echo Location event in the town.

This event is free to attend, so if you fancy something a little different from your Saturday night, pop down – It will be far more interesting than spending an hour in one of the high st pubs!

Anyone attending is also free to stay for the usual LOADED night and saves you a trip out into the cold too..

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Echo Location ‘Walkshop’, 12th November

The 4th walk in 4 days – out and about Bedford recording sounds… what fun. Today we had another enthusiastic group of people come together with a thirst for interesting sounds. We took ourselves down to the river where we noticed that the cygnets made ‘snorting’ sounds when you got up close to them… we roamed through the market and made our way to the auction house to get some recordings of the rhythmic sound-poems of the auctioneers. Everyone was up for trying to find unusual sounds, so we popped into a barbers to record hair clippers, into the post office for ‘cashier number 7′, into Lidl for tills and trolleys, we invested 60p to hear the pay & display meter give us a ticket, were relaxed at the sounds of windchimes at Froggy’s gifts and invited a waiter from ‘Chef Beijing’ to speak a bit of Mandarin for us… for which we are most grateful! Thanks everyone for a great day!… here are some pictures – … unfortunately donuts resting on pillars don’t make sounds, but hats off for checking…

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Out recording with North Herts College

Today we went out to make some recordings with students from North Herts College – based in Hitchen… I was really pleased to see thm because they had the added inconvenience of their minibus breaking down, so they came on the bus!… we went for quite a long and fruitful sound exploring walk, however, due to bus timetables we didn’t have time to edit and upload the sounds as a group. Everyone who took part has a copy of their sounds, so I’m looking forward to hearing the highlights appear on the soundmap over the next few weeks! Thanks for making such an effort to travel over to Bedford, I think we got some interesting sounds – including going up lots of flights of stairs into the gym opposite Debenhams on the Midland road, and recording a flying pig in Hawkins Bazaar… stranger things have happened…Thanks to everyone for taking part, and I look forward to listening to the NHC version of the Bedford soundmap.


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Out recording with Beds Garden Carers

A really enjoyable day out with Beds Garden Carers recording new sounds for the Echo Location Bedford soundmap. We decided to take a fairly short walk around – so we could spend time at various locations. Our first stop off point was a children’s playground, which provided a lot of interesting fodder for sound recordings – especially the squeaky gate. We then went to listen to the geese and ducks by the river, before heading back through the Harper centre, investing £1 to hear the childs toy bus ‘perform’ with plenty of beeping horns and bells! We then popped into the key cutting / shoe mending store and the man working behind the counter was happy to let us record him stapling a heel onto a boot and the sound of a key being cut. We were very pleased to be accommodated by such friendly shop keepers. After a break for lunch we got stuck into editing our recordings on Audacity and choose our favourite sounds to upload to the map. To listen to the soundscape from this walk – select BedsGardenCarers from the ‘Filter by User’ menu….Thanks very much to everyone who took part.


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Echo Location ‘Walkshop’, 9th November

Great day today with a really enthusiastic group of people who signed up for the Wednesday afternoon Echo Location ‘Walkshop’. Many more interesting and musical sounds uploaded to the map… it is expanding!… we went through town to start with and got all sorts of different sounds including the steam iron from the dry cleaners – then we divided up into smaller groups to explore the sonic delights of different parts of town. I was with a group down by the river and we used my hydrophone to listen to underwater sounds, which was really interesting… select hydrophone on the tag cloud and find out what it sounds like.

Remember – if you can’t make it along to an organised walk, you can take part at any point if you have a smart phone. Simply download the free app. ‘audioboo‘ onto your phone, set up an account – then make some recordings and tag your uploads ‘echoloc’ and they will be part of the Bedford Soundmap… go on – you know you want to!… the user name filtering is really starting to become interesting. If you select a particular user, it reveals their own personalised version of Bedford’s soundmap.


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Ludwig Koch

I have just spent 2 days in Bedford preparing for the next round of public ‘walkshops’, (Nov 9th & 12th) and also gathering material for the installation at the Pad (Dec 10th). Whilst out and about with my sound recording kit, I struck up conversations with quite a few local Bedfordians, and again had some fascinating conversations about the town – (dangling a hydrophone over a bridge into a weir does seem to prompt the inquisitive passer-by to ask what I’m up to). I was slightly taken aback when a man called Brian Meares who came up to me to ask if I was interested in Ludwig Koch, an early pioneer of wildlife sound recording. I was surprised, because I don’t often get a chance to have a conversation about Ludwig Koch – he was believed to be the first person to record a bird – using an Edison Wax cylinder in 1889 when he was only 8 years old. Coincidentally I had recently listened to a wonderful documentary on Ludwig Koch on resonance FM – which was a repeat of episode 57 of “Voice on Record” currently available to listen here and is full of beautiful bird recordings. I also found a radio 4 documentary here…. and more info here.

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Listening Walks: November 2011 – sign up!

The next Bedford Listening Walks with Kathy Hinde and Bedford Artist, Aaron Head, are now available for bookings. Record the sounds you hear, some familiar, some unusual, on our simple to use digital mini-recorders. No experience is necessary. Your sounds will be uploaded to the Echo Location soundmap and also form part of other Echo Location artworks.

Wednesday November 9th 1pm  - 4pm
Saturday November 12th 1pm- 4pm

Meeting Venue: Bedford Creative Arts

Please dress according to the weather, wearing comfortable footwear.

To book: email outlining which walk you would like to attend or call us on 01234 818670
Children over 12 are welcome if accompanied and supervised by an adult.


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