Street sounds of Salford and Chicago meet for unique student music performance

Wednesday 19 February 2014
Salford Cathedral

The evocative sounds of the Metrolink and the bell of Salford Cathedral will be combined with recordings from downtown Chicago and the shores of Lake Michigan for a live trans-Atlantic musical performance at MediaCityUK this Friday (21 February).

Five postgraduate music students from the University of Salford will join with senior undergraduates from Columbia College, Chicago, via the internet for the concert, which will fuse a wide range of street sounds from the two cities with ambient electronic music.

Last autumn student members of Salford’s experimental student music group the Adelphi Laptop Ensemble (ALE) collected sounds from sites across Salford, including tourist conversations on Chapel Street, the songs of birds roosting under railway bridges, a barking dog, the fountain at Greengate Square and building demolition work.

The University’s Director of Music & Performance, Professor Steve Davismoon, then visited students from Columbia College’s Columbia Laptop Ensemble (C_LEns) and took part in a ‘sound walk’ in Chicago with them and composer and sonic artist Tim Edwards to record audio from the city, such as the elevated railway system, buskers and birdsong from Lake Michigan.

Since then the Salford students have been working with the sounds of Chicago, while Columbia undergraduates have been experimenting with the Salford recordings. The resulting musical piece, integrating the two cities’ soundscapes, will be performed live by both ensembles, separated by nearly 4,000 miles but linked in real time through the internet, for the first time at the University of Salford’s MediaCityUK campus on Friday.

Professor Davismoon said: “Often we choose to avoid the sounds of the city that we live and work in by filling our ears with audio from phones or iPods, sometimes for good reason, sometimes from habit.

“The soundscapes created in this performance are instead a sonic celebration of the cities of Chicago and Salford, recognising that the sound signature of where we are located has a profound effect upon our sense of identity.

“The concert will give students from both sides of the Atlantic exciting opportunities to present performances of some of their work, with the sounds of both cities superimposed upon each other. This event marks the beginning of a fabulous collaborative relationship between us and Columbia College.”

Loops to and from ‘The Loop’, part of the Salford Sonic Fusion Project, will take place at the Digital Performance Lab, University of Salford, MediaCityUK, Salford, M50 2HE, on Friday 21 February from 7.00-8.00pm. Admission on the night is free of charge.