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'London Sounds' Listens In on the City

January 26, 2002|from Associated Press

LONDON — Bicycle wheels on a canal towpath, the hiss of a bus door, a voice intoning "mind the gap"--quick, where are you?

According to musician Peter Cusack, the noises form part of the distinctive soundscape of Britain's capital city. They are included on "Your Favorite London Sounds," an aural collage that has inspired Londoners to close their eyes and listen to their city.

Cusack, who compiled the compact disc, says we may not talk much about sounds, but we hear more than we realize.

"One part of the world sounds a lot different from another part of the world," he said. "On the London Underground, the way the 'mind the gap' echoes down the tunnel comes to you in such a London way, you can't fail to know where you are when you hear it.

"Similarly in Manhattan, the way the sounds echo round the skyscrapers and up and down the streets--a police siren in New York sounds only like it can in New York."

The sounds include a busy street market, birds in a park, trains, taxis and traffic.

It may not sound like interesting listening, but the CD has evoked enthusiastic reviews, newspaper articles and radio discussions.

"It's had far more interest than any of my musical work has ever had," said Cusack, an improvisational guitarist and bouzouki player.

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