Thursday, December 20, 2007

What is the Sound of Your City?



It came to my attention the other day that at some point in the past I uttered the following to a friend, "we are what we listen to." To some extent, I still agree with that teenage statement. Hence, I was pleased to read what NPR's Carrie Brownstein blogged about today. Incidentally, I very much enjoy Carrie's artistic comments and am happy to react here to some of her work. Her piece is particularly relevant during this travel season while many of us are traveling from urban center to urban center.

Here is a taste:
Great music transcends the spot on the map from which it springs
forth. But music also captures the nuances and sensibilities of
people's lives in a specific place or even becomes a reflection of
the city or State itself. Our local bands might be the best example
of who we are right now or of who we want to become, or maybe not at
all. They might live in Portland and sound like they're from
Manchester. So, it's not just the bands who reside in our cities and
towns, or who transplant themselves there, that make up the noises
that represent our topography or our internal and external
landscapes.

And any true lover of the city and urban life would, at least on some level, agree with the notion that every city comes with a soundtrack of its own. To emulate Carrie's question from her post today, what kind of music and what kinds of sounds are to be found in your city?

Read more of it here.

graph per c.b. at npr monitor mix

9 comments:

liam. said...

it's true. my identity has always been tightly linked to the music i listen to and that which i play. the only reason i even know anyone in this town is from being in bands here. the local music and art scene is definitely a defining factor for how i live, where i reside, who i hang out with, etc... i'm grateful for that...

Xan said...

Another interesting aspect is when a band, say local to Columbus, Ohio travels to take their sound elsewhere-for instance, my brother will play bass as one of the prodigal sons to The Ukulele Man in Texas next week. What are the implications of their sound and performance being so portable?

dave said...

the music that makes sense to me while driving in Los Angeles is sth along the line of Muse and Keane....

Anonymous said...

I am not in a band, nor am I a music junkie on par with BR or others of my acquaintance. However, I do have a good ear. What I instrinsically enjoyed about this post, and about really hip music in general, is the immediate vibe I received from it. In today's parlance: it put me in a zen place. Rather like Sofia Coppola's soundtracks. White hot. Looking at the posted foto and the flow of the concise words, full of quiet enthusiasm--that's my "local band music." What I thrive on.

Thank you for the reminder, BR.

Nicki said...

driving through Boisi, Idaho on the way to Portland Oregon, the playlists contained anything from the Flaming Lips to The Bravery to 30 Seconds to Mars, yes? that's the sound of these, my cities.

Eric said...

Camera Obscura while in Toronto. And England.

dave said...

what kind of music is conducive to good snow-boarding per you? the slopes are as much a valid cultural space as bona fide urban spaces, after all, and i'm sure you have a playlist for the slopes. share?

Bri said...

Liam: this is a perfect example of music serving as an enabler of sociality.
Xan: I think music can connect urban spaces organically and naturally. And therein, I would say, lies th portability of sound.
Maggie: I absolutely loved what you noted re: the zen place and feeling like experiencing a S. Coppola cinematic space.
Nicki: yes, the playlist is still an active one of mine.
Dave: One needs to have the right playlist for the slopes as well. Brit pop, I find, is most conducive to a full enjoyment of the surroundings.
Thank you, all.

Rebecca said...

What's the phrase that you like a lot lately, 'ganz Dogma'...? Well, the pic here is ganz Dogma. Every space comes with a distinct soundtrack, of course. Music can emotionalize a space as much as personal experiences can, don't you think?