With only one episode due to be released I’m delighted to announce that the Sergiyev Posad Sound Map is now complete. It has reached its final stage as the 12th piece will be available online shortly.
The concluding episode was recorded in Zvyozdotchka, a quiet residential area in Sergiyev Posad. It is not the busiest one, not much happens there but if you listen closely some interesting things are to be found.
This is the last one in the series exploring the sonic environment of each area by walking with local residents or with someone connected to the area in one way or another, and I do appreciate their support throughout the year. Together we roamed the streets talking about local sounds and subsequently these stories, voices and noises were mixed into twelve episodes, ten to fifteen minutes long each.
The map itself is made up of segments, each one is marked with a particular colour according to the month of the recording. About half of the sounds were recorded with binaural microphones resulting in a more spacious and life-like audio if listened through headphones.
These episodes are primarily built around found sounds so I suggest that it will also be of interest to those with little to no knowledge of Russian. Imagine walking down the street of a small Russian town, coming across unexpected noises, odd human voices and voices of nature — just the same as you would hear if getting there.
Sergiyev Posad Sound Map is the first online audio map in Russia bringing together sounds from every part of a town. It provides a voice for the local communities and advertises places of interest in Sergiyev Posad which I hope will contribute to its wider promotion as a cultural centre and a tourist destination.
The year-long series begins in October but fear not — it’s not me reconsidering the calendar, it’s just when our walks have started. Now let’s take a brief look at the year that was.
We started off our journey in October with the well-known local photographer Alexander Terenkov. Having spent his formative years in Skobyanka at the southeastern part of Sergiyev Posad he knows all the sounds of the past and present — from the industrial loud hooters once heard at the beginning of each shift by the local factory workers to the ducks’ quack by the river bank. Listen as he imitates some of them in a truly masterly fashion.
November was windy and freezing but despite the weather we spent four hours walking across Yuzhny and Klementiyevskiy areas with the designer Alexander Tupitsyn. Subsequently these hours of recording were edited down to thirteen minutes. Mind you, he is the one to tell the difference between the sounds of commuter and freight trains.
When there’s nothing left to make a sound, silence takes it over. The isolated uphill area of Kozia Gorka — this is where I was in December. Local historian and resident of the area Alexander Rdultovsky recalls the sounds that are scarce but mighty — frozen water leftovers cracking in the wood, cats’ fights, stove hissing, or ripe apples falling down the roof by night.
Foreign words were being spoken in January . This was a chance to hear the familiar sounds from another perspective as well — very useful indeed. Recorded in the Uglitch area.
From the trains to the polling stations, from the buzzing emergency call buttons to the car alarms and shop ambiances.
This is only a part of the sound story told by the local poet and ecologist Olga Romashova in February.
Wildlife sounds were the main theme of the March episode. Tatyana Sadikova, the college librarian enjoys listening to the birds while in her wooden house in Kirovka or walking outside and there are plenty of opportunities for anyone to do the same.
That’s funny. My next guide, a former army officer Alexander Arianov was mistaken by a listener for Boris Grebenshikov, a Russian rock star. Both have so much in common — the voice, the tone, but I can hardly imagine a rock star sharing the story of the local radio persuading people not to put the keys under the doormat as they leave home.
There was a campaign in which over 70 keys were spotted by the journalists on a raid. Potentially dangerous! Apart from that — birds and waterfalls recorded in April in Ferma, Sergiyev Posad.
Orthodoxy and jazz — what’s wrong with that? Nothing, says Fr. Victor Grigorenko of St. Sergius Church in Semkhoz. The two can easily go together without contradiction as long as the music expresses people’s hopes and honest intentions. As a priest in the church with a secular concert hall nearby he happens to speak to the audience prior to a concert. I recorded the main part of this piece while walking in the Semkhoz woods in May — bitten by mosquitoes but gaining precious knowledge instead.
This one is speechless. Let the town centre speak for itself as it did in this episode full of all sorts of sounds. Cars, grasshoppers, chimes, guest workers, church singers, dodgy cafe singers, railway junctions, lake shores — this is how the Sergiyev Posad’s main street sounded like in June.
Severny means ‘northern’ in Russian and this is somewhat true. Gale winds have been following us as we were exploring sounds in this part of Sergiyev Posad together with Valeriya Ratnikova, a local resident relocating from the town of Kovrov some time ago, so she couldn’t help comparing. But it is not only the wind that can be heard in this area. Recorded in July.
The June episode had no hosts. In August there were three of them.
Yuri works as a grave-digger, Hagani is a shepherd and Valeriy is a local resident and a lathe operator for over five decades now. I have met them on my trip from the north-west suburb of Sergiyev Posad to the town centre — as the map of the Grazhdanka area suggests.
We’ve reached the end of our year-long sound journey and it brings us close to the place where it all began, to the Zvyozdotchka area which is a five minutes walk from Skobyanka. We are guided by Anna Dianova while there. I wasn’t aiming at looping the series but it is nice to think there was an idea behind this walk. More Zvyozdotchka sounds to follow.