Sonic Geography

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

Camino De Santiago De Compostela FULL-TEXT AVAILABLE IN PRINT EDITION ONLY   In the spring of 2010 we undertook a walk to Santiago de Compostela in northwestern Spain, a pilgrimage site since the Middle Ages. It’s the traditional burial site of Santiago, or St. James, one of Christ’s apostles who[...] Read more

Sonic Geography Stuart and Cherie Broomer Issue 109

Milan FULL-TEXT AVAILABLE IN PRINT EDITION ONLY   A sonic spectre is haunting Milan’s music scene. That ghostly presence is Giuseppe Verdi (1813–1901), Italy’s best-known composer of romantic operas, who moved to the city when young, shot to fame with Nabucco in 1842[...] Read more

Sonic Geography Ken Waxman Issue 105

A Few More Words About Times Square Max Neuhaus’ permanent sound installation, Times Square (1977–1992; 2002–present), has become a place that I visit every time I find myself in New York City. There is something about revisiting it, spending some time standing on the pedestrian traffic island between Forty-[...] Read more

Sonic Geography Sean Peuquet Issue 114

Paris, France On June 21, 1982, the French Ministry of Culture introduced the first Fête de la Musique (meaning celebration/feast of music, and a homophone of Faites-musique—make music), a large street party where musicians reignite ancient pagan solstice rituals in spontaneous concerts[...] Read more

Sonic Geography Paul Steenhuisen Issue 113

Havana, Cuba What does a city sound like whose history spans periods of colonial opulence, Mafia casino decadence, and a dying communist revolution? The habanera, the salsa, and reggaeton. Havana’s storied past has produced a musical culture as varied and deep as the sociopolitical eras that it has[...] Read more

Sonic Geography Richard Simas Issue 112

Rings of Beijing I sit staring at the laptop screen in my Beijing hotel room. Writers’ block. Silently trying to formulate words. No sounds enter my consciousness. Only the insistent hum of the laptop. Until my listening body is dropped into a pool of sound. Concentric sonic circles ripple out from the[...] Read more

Sonic Geography Millie Chen Issue 110

Kitchen Chorus over breakfast, writing in my head, i can’t hear the words land—they’re swallowed back down the chute they come from—thud of molars as they chew buttered toast which slides, with a slick suck, into the whirlpool of digestive juices—outside, rain is rivetting[...] Read more

Sonic Geography Ingrid Rose Issue 111

G20 “Down with capitalism, up with socialism!” This distorted-megaphone message is heard against a backdrop of African drumming, French resistance songs, and the constant whirr of helicopters overhead. The rally organizers direct the crowd, “Please walk slowly and peacefully[...] Read more

Sonic Geography Micheline Roi Issue 108