Saturday, February 29th

by musicclipoftheday

How about a trip down the Danube?

(Tips? Short segments. Eyes closed. Ears—and imagination—open.)

Annea Lockwood (1939-), A Sound Map of the Danube, 2001-2005



Itinerary (from YouTube):

00:00: Bregquelle To Immendingen; 09:54: Fridingen To Ulm; 17:14: Lauingen To Weltenburg; 31:26: Passau To Jochenstein Dam; 40:20: Inzell To Traismauer; 49:31: Orth To Haslau; 1:02:36: Donauwirt To Šamorín; 1:12:36: Esztergom To Keselyüs; 1:27:44: Batina To Vukovar; 1:42:34: Backo Novo Selo To Dobra; 1:59:41: Kazan Gorges To Tutrakan; 2:11:06: Popina To Rasova; 2:30:40: Nufaru To The Black Sea.


Between the winter of 2001 and the summer of 2004, I made five field-recording trips, moving slowly down the Danube from the sources in the Black Forest through Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Bulgaria and Romania to the great delta on the Black Sea, recording the river?s sounds (at the surface and underwater), aquatic insects, and the various inhabitants of its banks. At 2880 km. (1785 miles) the Danube is Europe?s second longest river and one of its most historically significant, having long been a trade and cultural conduit between east and west. Its drainage basin encompasses much of Central Europe and it has carved out deep gorges dividing the southern arm of the Carpathians from the Balkan Mountains.

I recorded from the banks, finding a great variety of water sounds as the gradient and bank materials changed, often feeling that I was hearing the process of geological change in real time. Towards the end of the final field trip, while listening to small waves slap into a rounded overhang the river had carved in a mud bank in Rasova, Romania (CD 3 track 2), I realised that the river has agency; it composes itself, shaping its sounds by the way it sculpts its banks.

Along the way I spoke with people for whom the Danube is a central influence on their lives, an integral part of their identity, asking them: “What does the river mean to you? Could you live without it?” They responded in their native languages and dialects, their voices woven into the river’s sounds, placed as close to the location where I met them as possible. “What is a river?” was the question underlying the whole project for me.

Many people helped with every aspect of the project at every stage, and I am deeply grateful for their generosity and interest. The installation, “A Sound Map of the Danube”, was completed in 2005 and first presented during the Donau Festival in Krems, Austria. It was mixed in 5.1 surround sound with audio engineer Paul Geluso at Harvestworks Digital Media Arts in New York, and this version was re-mixed in stereo in 2008.

—Annea Lockwood


This project can be experienced as a sound installation, through March 29th, at Chicago’s Experimental Sound Studio.



random sights

a while ago, Maine (Monhegan Island)