1. Julius Weisberg
Bushy Dell Creek
This soundwalk is chronological and begins in a park, which Bushy Dell Creek runs through, in Piedmont California. The sounds of birds, construction, and water all take place within the park itself. As I left the park, I encountered the sounds of children playing at a nearby school. The sounds of traffic also became more present as I left the park and walked down towards Lake Merritt in Oakland. On Grand Avenue, a street near Lake Merritt, a brief conversation can be heard under the sound of traffic. When I reached the lake, I enjoyed the sounds of birds on the water. As I began to walk around the lake, I saw a playground with swings and decided I wanted to swing and record the sound. Unexpectedly, a man helped his son get onto the swing next to me. The recording concludes with us having a conversation about his life and our generation.
The soundwalk reflects two very different spaces. Piedmont is a relatively quiet, rich and isolated neighborhood. Lake Merritt was livelier and more populated. I enjoyed the sounds of nature in Piedmont but ultimately the human interaction in Oakland was more satisfying for me. I feel my representation of Lake Merritt was limited because of how large it is and because some of the people I wanted to include in the soundwalk didn’t want me to record them.
The Pinole Creek soundwalk is a commentary about pollution (noise and otherwise) that impacts Pinole Creek (Pinole, CA) and the surrounding area. It begins with the sounds of waves from the bay, which transitions into creek water and traffic sounds. Suddenly, the sound of me stepping on a can interrupts the flow of the water. This sound appears several times throughout the piece and acts as a way to move us through the soundscape. Next we move back towards the waves of the bay. I crush small rocks in my hand and let them fall into a small puddle next to me. This reflects my joy of being in and hearing nature but also my frustration about trash and noise pollution. Then we transition to the creek, where I recorded the sounds of birds and traffic. The soundwalk concludes with loud traffic sounds, which were present throughout much of the piece, which slowly fade out.
This piece reflects the conflicting emotions I felt as I did these sound recordings. There is joy and delight in nature and also anger about how humans have harmed the earth and each other. I hope that this piece can bring more sonic awareness of noise pollution.
This soundwalk stretches across several blocks of Clement Street in San Francisco. I went inside several businesses to get many of these recordings. The piece begins in a coffee shop. My interaction with the cashier is layered with the sound of a cart carrying food to an Asian grocery store nearby. Then I overlay the sounds and conversations of a salon with a brief conversation in a foreign language. This transitions into several Asian grocery stores where there are conversations, music, cash registers, and other background noises. The sound of stairs takes us outside where there is traffic and crows. The humming sound of a fancy electric car can also be heard quite loudly.
I believe this piece captures some of the cultural diversity, vibrancy, and general feeling on the street and inside the businesses there. The piece is limited because many business owners didn’t want me to record in their stores and so I didn’t get as complete of a set of recordings as I would have liked.
This piece takes place along Lobos Creek and Baker Beach in San Francisco. The sounds of waves are present throughout the whole piece. Besides the sounds of waves, the beginning of the piece includes the sounds of birds, walking, construction and a distant crowd. As we approach Baker Beach, the crowd gets louder and the predominant sound becomes a performance of the Addams Family theme song. This transitions into the sound of an airplane that fades along with the waves.
I really enjoyed this soundwalk because the performance was so unexpected and grabbed so much sonic attention. The waves are a steady force throughout the piece and give us a context in which to hear the other sounds.
This piece is a commentary about development and the housing crisis in Hayward (and the Bay Area more generally). The sound of a jackhammer sets the stage and acts as a transition sound throughout the piece. The first interview is with a woman who walked by me while I was recording in downtown Hayward. She speaks minimal English and tells me of her difficulties in Spanish. She talks about how the cost of living is high, that wages are not going up, and that it’s hard for her to afford the basic things she needs. Then she tells me in English to go to city hall and check out all the people there.
I decided to follow her advice and it turned out that at city hall Eden Housing, one of the companies that is developing Hayward, was having a 55th year celebration. After briefly speaking with Dimitri Williams, a property manager at Eden Housing, I decided to leave because I assumed the people at the event didn’t want to talk to me about what I was interested in. I didn’t want to push them too hard for an opinion on the housing crisis. I regret not doing that as I write this, but it didn’t feel right in the moment.
After the second interview concludes, the somewhat sparse sounds of traffic and music conveys a transition out of the downtown area towards a nearby creek. The creek is trashed and has homeless people living in it. Then we walk up a road to access another part of the creek. Then our professor Joel Wanek explains how closed off the public space of the creek is due to all the condos being built in that area.