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An English lesson from New York

canal-street-nyc-03A new week, and a couple of sounds coming up from New York for you.

The first is a field recording by Gavin Prior from the bustling Canal Street area in Manhattan.

Here, a machine on the street gives an English lesson (of sorts) by gabbling out staccato automated phrases along the lines of giving her name and stock greetings like ‘good morning’ and ‘good night’.

Listening to the sound for the first time, the accent of the automated voice and the frenetic bustle of the background sound made me think this was from somewhere like Tokyo, but such is the nature of the 21st-century modern metropolis. Anyhow, it’s a unique and really interesting field recording.

For the reimagined version, I’ve placed the snippets of English lesson into a dream sequence by layering heavily-effected tracks of bass guitar as a bed.

Everything that’s not the original field recording here was made using treated bass guitar sounds, through hardware and software, to remove the field recording from its original context and imagine what it would be like to dream of this voice in the middle of the night.

City version:

Memory version: