‘Hummingbirds’ – 17 December

This is not in fact the sound of actual Hummingbirds, but the sound of a type of firework called ‘Hummingbirds’.

I recorded this sound either in 2007 or 2008, during a DIY fireworks display in our back garden. Mark is infectiously enthusiastic about fireworks and as a result of this I have experimented quite a lot with recordings of them. This precise recording has made it into not just the MoDA Sonic Wallpapers project, but also a ringtone which I created for my own phone (for a couple of years it let me know that Mark was calling); a track created as part of the Sonic Tuck Shop Artist Book CD; and a track composed for framework:250, titled ‘Celebrations’.

My favourite thing about the unedited version of the audio is that a couple of seconds after the firework has finished making its distinctly screechy sound, Mark’s youngest son does a sort of sonic impression of it! His voice is quite a bit deeper now that he is in the fullness of teenage-hood, and this tiny snapshot of him being a young boy is a lovely little reminder of past times. I also love it as an example of an informal review of, and comment on, a sound.

The recording was included in the Sonic Wallpaper piece composed to accompany BADDA 4380 in the MoDA collection, because of all the comments people made about the ‘active’ bursts in the design resembling fireworks as well as stars.

BADDA 4380 – image © MoDA and used with their kind permission

I have one copy of the Sonic Wallpapers book to give to someone who would like to have a domestic listening experience for themselves! The book has all 18 wallpaper designs from the MoDA collection used in this project, and a CD in the back which contains all the soundpieces. There are introductions both by myself and Zoe Hendon who is the curator of MoDA, and notes on what people said, and what sounds were recorded, for each wallpaper included in the project.

Sonic Wallpapers book

Sonic Wallpapers CD

To win a copy of the book, you just need to leave a comment here about a wallpaper that you remember from your life, and one sound you recall from the room where that wallpaper was. If you cannot think of a wallpaper design and a sound, you could also leave one thought/response you have to this project. On 24th December, I will draw a number at random and post out a copy of the book to the winner!

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