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Sirens on the streets of New York

A classic NYC sound – the sirens of a fire truck trying to get through traffic, accompanied later by a police car.

The sounds of sirens are reflected across the whole of Manhattan by the vast concrete and glass surfaces of the skyscrapers, so their already-impressive sounds resonate even further and louder than they would in other cities.

City version:

The excellent reimagined version of this sound comes from Keira Simmons, who drew on her experiences of living in the city to create it:

“In creating this piece I was interested in evoking the feelings I experienced while living in New York in 2017, feelings of dissociation, submersion in life and the mess of the world.

Sirens in New York: photo by Constante Ken Lim on Unsplash
Sirens in New York: photo by Constante Ken Lim on Unsplash

“I arrived on Inauguration Day, and quickly became familiar with the sound of emergency sirens.

“Without using too much complex processing throughout the piece, I used my library of field recordings from my time living and protesting there to build up a sense of the city.

“The relentless hum, the dishevelment, the loss, the moments of clarity, the endless cycle of the sirens.

“My reading of Adam Zagajewski’s “Try to Praise the Mutilated World” (from Central Park in Aug 2017) captures the sense of innocence that I and the people around me tightly held onto at that time.

“In this piece I mostly looped, filtered and used reverb, with only a couple of tracks using granular synthesis to create tonal textures.”

Memory version: