A recent post on Listening invited some interesting comments that provided some great food for thought. A recent one by Peter Wyeth made the point of how often music is used as cover up to block out the environment- be it physical or psychological. I felt this concept tied in pretty neatly with this week’s precious sound of the everyday.
One location where music is used to mask or at least thinly veil the whole alienating nature of it all is shopping centres. This method can work more or less well, depending on the acoustics of the place, but I don’t think I’m alone in feeling that music piped into large cavernous spaces adds an additional disconcerting muffled din effect at the best of times. The music of choice unfailingly being overproduced, overexposed pop tripe certainly doesn’t help.
In any case- you can hear what I mean in this recording I took from the top floor of the Dundrum shopping centre. At one Celtic Tiger time or other heralded as the largest shopping centre in Europe, Dundrum is one such ginormous, terraced space, spreading over 5 floors and crisscrossed by tentacled escalators.
I thought it might be fun making this an active listening exercise: try and see (I use this verb deliberately here) how many distinct sounds you can spot over the reverberating piped pop. Once you start to focus, a draft sense of my surroundings will start emerging. Get in touch by leaving in the comments below what you heard, and I’ll let you know if you got it right…