Talking Heads mastermind David Byrne, always one for irreverence and understated brilliance, has another quirky accomplishment to add to his mantel of genius.
Last month, while taking part in a residency for a project called A Room for London, Byrne shacked up in a one-bedroom art space modeled after a riverboat, on the roof of the Queen Elizabeth Hall in London.
While there, he recorded ambient noise from the area, hoping to put it together into a project that he hoped would capture the “rhythm” of the town – and he succeeded in a way only he could.
In his own words -
“London’s tempo is 122.86 beats per minute. I brought along some field recording gear to use while I was staying in the lovely pod/room/boat. I went out during the day and recorded sounds that I thought might be useful and evocative. It turned out that most of the sounds—even the church organ in Southwark Cathedral—seemed to converge around a common rhythm. It’s a bit too good to be true—that every large city should have its own rhythm, but here it is. I let the sounds dictate the groove, the tempo, and then I simply played along.”
As for the sounds, Byrne broke them down as follows:
Strawberry seller – from the Borough Market.
Train – Southwark
Female Evangelist – Spitalfields Market
Organ – Southwark Cathedral
Jackhammer – Near Waterloo
Footsteps – His own
Thames waves – near Surrey water
Byrne: “The videos are from all over. I took lots of photos around town while walking about, but I felt that moving images complemented London’s groove a little better.”
Enjoy the video below. Thanks for this, Mr. Byrne!