“urban sound stories” Vol. 01 — Paris/France – Eric Cordier

 


 

Location 01:

Night works on the Railway at Bercy Station – Winter 2008-2009

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MP3

 


 

Location 02:

Small electric train in Bercy Station – July 2009

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MP3

 


 

Location 03:

Harbour sound – Port des Champs-Élysées – July 2009

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MP3

 


 

Location 04:

Le Bourget Air Meeting – 19, 20 & 21 June 2009

Le Bourget airport/Parc départemental de Dugny-La Courneuve (north and a little east suburb of Paris (dept 93)

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MP3

Consolidated PBY Catalina Hydravion

MP3

Junckers Ju-52-3m

MP3

F A-18 Hornet Boeing Mc Donald Douglass

MP3

Eurofighter Typhoon

MP3

Macchi 346

 


 

Location 05:

Storm – Brook close to the Route des Batteries – Beginning of September 2009 at night

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MP3

 


 

Location 06:

Waterfall – Route de la ceinture du Lac de Daumesnil, close to the Route des Batteries – Many times between July and September 2009

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MP3

 


 

Location 07:

Aquatic insect 1 – Brook close to the Route des Batteries – July 2009

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MP3

 

MP3

 


 

Location 08:

Aquatic insect (decelerator) (2 extracts) – Brook close to the Route des Batteries – September 2009

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MP3

 

MP3

 


 

The question of « unspoiled nature » and determination/limitation of the sites.
 

The project is based on the exploration of big European cities and the topic is split in 2 parts: “artificially constructed urban space » and « unspoiled nature ». The first part of is easy but the second is quite astonishing. It is very difficult, perhaps even perverse, to speak about nature in such cities where everything has been built and rebuilt by humans for the last 2,000 years. Even though I was thinking that the task was impossible, I have tried to answer to the topic.
 

How to find some nature in Paris – in the parks? They are totally built up and continuously gardened. The river Seine? It is terribly polluted, especially from the point of view of sound, with the boats that carry tourists. Can we consider the plants, the animals, mammalians, birds, even insects as part of the nature? The plants that grow spontaneously in Paris are not natural plants, but only pioneer or ruderal plants as the buddleia that invade Europe since the eighties (coming from Vietnam). The pets are obviously not nature but can we tell that the animals that live without the help of the humans as part of the « unspoiled nature ». No! This type of animal: rats, mice, termites or ants, are called “comensals”, in the sense that if they live independently from humans, they take their food from human activities and they are indirectly helped by humans (by example the termites that has came by boat in some wood coming from Africa).  As it is strictly defined : « unspoiled nature » the challenge is totally impossible to reach.
The only way to reach it a little was to record some meteors as a storm (sample 1), humans do still not direct the meteors. The other way is to record a waterfall that sounds the same way in nature or if it is built by hands (sample 2).
 

However, I can answer a little to the topic.
When the project was proposed to me at the beginning of the summer, I was beginning to do some underwater recording with Thomas Tilly, just to test and compare microphones and hydrophones. For doing the tests, as we live on the extreme east part of Paris, we have decided to visit the “Bois de Vincennes”, the easiest place for us to access a waterway. And by chance, what should have been just a test has produced interesting recordings, as we have recorded some aquatic insects that are not common. What makes the recordings so important for me are the many attempts to record the insects throughout the rest of the summer, in the same place, which have proved unsuccessful.
 

Speaking with a naturalist we have understand that the “Bois de Vincennes” is a quiet preserved area. This place is not a place of « unspoiled nature », it is an artificially built preserved area. Some parts of the park show previous signs of a farm and buildings – there are some remains of walls in some parts. This wood has belonged to the nation for hundreds of years, since the time of kings that were using it as a place for hunting, close to the king’s castle. This park is now a kind of wood devoted to promenade more than to the production of wood. Too many people walk here and no “good” wood can grow for the industry. They die from old age and are left to fall down and decay, giving food to mushrooms and insects, which in turn become some good food for birds. This wood is also preserved because it is not surround by agriculture and so preserved from pesticides.
 

The brook were we carried out the recording is not a natural brook; it has been dug to supply water to an artificial lake. Some parts of the brook are made of stone and concrete, the water coming from under earth by tubes, but we can find in it some fragile insects. So for these recordings we are not in front of a part of « unspoiled nature », but an artificially constructed urban preserved area located between the city and the suburb.
 

Locations:
So, the various recordings : storm, waterfall and various types of insects and freshwater snail (eating some plants) (sample 1 to 4) are located in the same area along less than 200m of an artificial brook in “Bois de Vincennes”. One location was enough, and that was perhaps the only location possible in Paris, with its twin park “Bois de Boulogne”, and much of interest to show you the various aspects of this rare place.
The recording has been made at several times, in the same place, in July, end of August and mid-September.
Sample 3, the decelerating insect sound, has been used in a reverse way in the composition.

 


 

urban sound stories” Vol. 01-05

online: www.kunstradio.at
on air: Ö1 Kunstradio, Sundays 11.03-11.45pm (CET)

 

 Broadcasts archive: click here

 

Listen > Vol. 01 — 08.11.2009 — London / EnglandSimon Whetham

Listen > Vol. 02 — 15.11.2009 — Vienna / AustriaTobias Bolt

Listen > Vol. 03 — 22.11.2009 — Paris / FranceEric Cordier

Listen > Vol. 04 — 13.12.2009 — Rotterdam / The NetherlandsLasse-Marc Riek

Listen > Vol. 05 — 27.12.2009 — Dublin / IrelandRoland Etzin

 

  

 

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