Sonic Geography

Tom Wayman’s “Elemental Musics: Selkirk Mountains” 1. ARIA   Alpine wind in the stunted firs half whispers an austere wistfulness with overtones of regret at being compelled by a harsh landscape to be mercilessly forthright: a breathy flute-note surging and fading[...] Read more

Sonic Geography Tom Wayman Issue 127

Ocean Bug and Bird Songs BORN CONFUSED. FLY AT LIGHT. Tonight you June bugs pelt my office window in a relentless barrage—desperate wings fanning air that will not hold and tap-tap-tap-tap-tap on the glass. I turn off the lights, sneak outside, guide you through the yard by the glow of my phone. A conductor of[...] Read more

Sonic Geography Darcy Spidle Issue 125

Sonic City We presume hush because business has yet to come. People stand, the movement of feet inaudible Over the creeping perception of noise An indistinguishable hum pervading the acoustic Of suitcases’ wheels Clitter-clattering across cobbled stones Some[...] Read more

Sonic Geography Imogene Newland Issue 124

The Avian is the Message Songbirds have a secret language. This is something I did not fully appreciate until recently, when I became immersed in their world. What may be music to our ears is bird-speak—a mating call, an aural fence, or simple prattle to stay in touch. There are people who can understand bird[...] Read more

Sonic Geography Su Rynard Issue 122

Los Arroyos in Stereo A springtime hike through the hills of the Sierra Nevada, Andalucía, Spain. I follow my guide, Neftali, scrabbling up switchbacks, sweat from the raw sun cooling in the alpine breeze swishing my neck.   The hike has been filled with talk. Neftali pointing out species[...] Read more

Sonic Geography J. R. McConvey

Shannon McKee's "The Copy Room" As I step into the undersized side room of the middle-school office, I want to remove my high heels. I want to kneel on the thin, brown carpet and touch my forehead to the ugly floor. I want to offer up a soft song. Because when I—a teacher’s assistant for twenty-five twelve-year[...] Read more

Sonic Geography Shannon McKee Issue 121

Field Notes From Fort McMurray in the damp morning air: rain pitter-patters on whispering leaves. inherited onomatopoeic vocabulary; true but tried tropes carrying with them vague echoes of that singular safety known to the time when board books taught us to affix words to sounds, predictably, repeatably. a wind sighs,[...] Read more

Sonic Geography Theo Di Castri

The Blessed Riders of Streetcars in Vienna Streetcars in Vienna are blessedly quiet. The machines—brand new, high-tech plastic platforms—announce themselves on approach with only a slight electric hum. I now react to their high pitch with the same short sprints I used to make to catch the lumbering College streetcar in[...] Read more

Sonic Geography Caitlin Smith Issue 118

A Walk in the Barrios Buenos Aires, also known as Capital Federal, is the largest city in Argentina, with a population of three million—thirteen million including the greater urban area. The city is located on the western shore of Rio de la Plata (River of Silver), the widest estuary in the world, which[...] Read more

Sonic Geography alcides lanza Issue 117

Lisbon, Portugal FULL TEXT AVAILABLE ONLY IN PRINT EDITION   A wolfman wanders Lisbon’s Praça do Comercio, the broad public square facing the Tagus River estuary leading to the sea. It is nearly midnight. He is bearded, shirtless, and his bare feet slap the calçadas, the[...] Read more

Sonic Geography Richard Simas Issue 116

The Ring Road, Iceland FULL-TEXT AVAILABLE IN PRINT EDITION ONLY   It’s not often in a lifetime that you get to circumnavigate an entire country. And it’s not often that you come across an entire country that’s a small island whose most remarkable work of public infrastructure is a two-[...] Read more

Sonic Geography Jonathan Bunce Issue 115

Knoxville, Tennessee FULL-TEXT AVAILABLE IN PRINT EDITION ONLY   As with any American city, the dominant feature of the Knoxville soundscape is the almighty car. With an extension of the interstate zooming only a few blocks from downtown, and a multi-lane surface road separating the University of[...] Read more

Sonic Geography Jonny Dovercourt Issue 107