Sounds of the City
February 3, 2010 9:58 AM   Subscribe

The Smalls, a website about short films, has created The Smalls Street Sounds, a site where folks can upload sounds unique to their city and see them mapped (USAcentric). They have set a goal of having 5,000 sounds uploaded by March. via. My favorite.
posted by agatha_magatha (10 comments total) 20 users marked this as a favorite
That's pretty neat. The mouthwash guy kind of missed the point, but I like some of the other ones.
posted by cashman at 10:16 AM on February 3, 2010

Paging moonmilk, moonmilk to the white courtesy phone please.
posted by idiopath at 10:26 AM on February 3, 2010 [1 favorite]

Umm, went to the Twin Cities one, and all the sounds are from some guy with a profile pick of a bicep posting things from around his gym. Neither unique or interesting. This is what happens without editorial control.

From one post -
"The weight room at my gym. Not me working out here. BUT THE OTHER DUDE PUSHED IT GOOD JOB YEAH"

posted by Muddler at 10:34 AM on February 3, 2010

Interesting that they call it "Street Sounds", since human made spaces are precisely where the sounds of the world tend to be most homogeneous. Though I do now wish I had brought an audio recorder with me to the World Naked Bike Ride festivities here in Portland. Here's hoping we get a nice variety of recordings of the accents and idioms of the spangers of the country. The most prominent sounds in "street sounds" are likely to have been designed by engineers at GM and Toyota.
posted by idiopath at 10:52 AM on February 3, 2010

This is a ridiculiously awesome idea.
posted by Skygazer at 10:53 AM on February 3, 2010

I was involved in a similar project in 1997, but the technology just wasn't there at the time. I'm happy to see that this time around, it's a viable project. With much better design.
posted by hades at 11:41 AM on February 3, 2010

Michigan Public Radio has been doing something like this for about a year I think - called "Sounds of the State":
posted by rjd at 12:49 PM on February 3, 2010

Great idea and quite nicely executed. The fact that there's only one level of zoom means places like NYC will quickly become impossible to use though.

The guy uploading sounds from the gym is probably planning to make a film for the next phase (short films using three sounds from the database).

By the way, "USA centric" means treating the rest of the world as peripheral to the US. Most of the English language internet is like that. One gets used to it. There needs to be a stronger term for completely ignoring the rest of the planet. For example, see various films where aliens take over the entire Earth from NYC to LA (though to be fair, they usually also station motherships over Sydney, Paris, and just outside Cairo regardless of the plot holes this might create). If you don't know what I'm talking about, the re-boot of V will probably illustrate it nicely.
posted by GeckoDundee at 2:51 PM on February 3, 2010

GeckoDundee: What do you mean, only one level of zoom? It seems to me there are several. If you select a sound and play it, the map will change to a different style in which you can "doubleclick to zoom" -- over and over. Even so, I agree this will get hard to use in very dense places; it already kind of is.
posted by mindwarp at 8:58 PM on February 5, 2010

Thanks for that, mindwarp. Trying again, I'm still only getting one more level of zoom (and a few browser crashes), but I suspect that's because I'm using a linux netbook with an old version of flash. I'll have to try it on another machine.
posted by GeckoDundee at 2:02 PM on February 6, 2010

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