Sound environments from Peru, binarual for headphone listening

In spring 2010 I travelled to Peru for field recording. Over the years I have found that nature sounds, although not necessarily easy to record, are often ‘easy targets’. On this excursion my aim was to capture a view on the Peruvian social-cultural sound-world. As a visitor this is a difficult task. Without good contacts (which I didn't have) and loaded with recording equipment, it's challenging to explore behind the tourist infrastructure.

I chose not to travel to the Amazon area, and instead to cities, villages and historical sites. My time constraints necessitated selective planning and my only regret is that I did not have time to traverse the complete country. The journey begun in Lima, continued to Cusco, walking the Inca trail to Machu Picchu. From here I took a train through the Andes to Puno, visiting small communities on Lake Titicaca.

I returned with over 10 hours of recordings, which are now described and archived. As background preparation for future compositions, from this archive I have selected sonic features and curiosities and made small studies in sound. These studies are not intended as sound walks, nor compositions or collages, but instead to capture the character of the place in question. The mixes involve simple editing to cut and highlight sounds, progressions, spaces and environments.

The studies can be heard by selecting links on the right hand side. The recordings are encoded in a binaural format designed to capture a realistic idea of the sound space and it is important to listen over headphones. You can also follow the recording locations on the Google Map links below.

Travel was made possible by a grant from the komponistenes Vederlagsfond, and subsequent work on the material by a grant from the Statens Kunstnerstipend.

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