Gordon Hempton, sound ecologist, has devoted his life to recording places where there is no human noise:
I think that I’ve recorded possibly 15, 20,000 recordings over the 25 years that I’ve done this. But the best time to do this, absolutely hands down, is in the morning. And I’ll set up, much like you would walk into a theater and look at all the seats and think, where do you want to sit for this one? Where do you want to sit in the concert hall? Where’s the best place to listen? Well right now, let’s see how quietly the park is talking.
I’ve recently been intrigued by urban noise, and have been Voice-Memo-recording everything. Starting with friends — instead of transcribing quick advice by hand, I record them — I then moved to noise, audio I don’t want to lose. Street performers, Starbucks orderers, bucket drummers, subway arguments, construction. Noise. Gordon describes silence as an “endangered species.” Out of context, later, the sound is a good foil.