Open call – join the Cities and Memory Spring Project

It’s that time of year again – the evenings are getting longer, the birdsong is more beautiful and intense than ever, and the Cities and Memory Spring Project is open for artists!

Here’s how it works – twice every year, we open up our sound database for you to choose from, offering up the very best recordings the Cities and Memory community have submitted from all over the world throughout the second half of 2023 and 2024 so far, as well as many we’ve recorded ourselves.

You can select any sound that speaks to you, and then create a composition based on that field recording to be part of our global sound map.

This Spring, we’ve got 100 incredible recordings for you to choose from across 29 countries, including the following highlights:

  • The sound of 1,000 motorcyclists all dressed as Santa Claus in Paris
  • Soundscapes from Budapest’s ornate and iconic thermal baths
  • The sound of the world’s most beautiful tram ride
  • Musical highlights from the International Buskers’ Festival
  • Taiko drumming and traditional temples in Japan
  • Natural birdsong, dawn choruses and natural soundscapes from the UK, South Africa, Kenya and Thailand
  • Nightlife and celebrations from New Orleans to Northern Ireland
  • Classic Italian street and piazza sounds from Venice and Rome

Every sound that’s added to the sound map also goes out to thousands of subscribers as a podcast episode on Spotify, Apple Music and all the usual places. Selected compositions will also feature on our annual “best of” compilation, Sounds of the Year (which has been running since 2016), and will be archived by the British Library. Plenty of reasons to get involved!

How it works

  1. Just hit the button below and email us to tell us you’re interested in taking part, and we’ll send over a link to our sound database.
  2. You pick the sound that interests you and then – once we’ve confirmed that it’s available and allocated it to you – create a composition based on and using that recording.

Alternatively if you prefer the element of chance, we can select a recording at random for you.

  1. The deadline for submissions for this year is the end of Spring, Wednesday 19 June and sounds will be added to Cities and Memory as they are submitted.

Your composition

The aim of the project is to reimagine one field recording from our database of sounds to create a brand new composition.

The only “rules” are as follows:

  1. The composition must include your selected field recording, or some part of it, either unedited or effected/processed.
  2. Your piece should reflect your response to the source sound and/or the story behind the sound.
  3. Your composition may contain only one of the source recordings, not multiple recordings. You are free to use as much other instrumentation, music or samples as you like – but obviously without using any copyrighted material from elsewhere.
  4. Your piece should be between 2 and 20 minutes in length.

As long as the above are taken into account, all compositional styles to reimagine the recordings are equally valid – musical compositions, vocals, electronic or organic music, soundscapes, ambient/drone, sound art, radio art or straight-up techno or pop songs all welcome! It’s a free composition for you to create a piece of music or a soundscape that reflects your response to the source field recording and/or the location or story behind it.

We’re looking forward to hearing from you, and hope you’re up for the challenge of our traditional sonic callout of the season!