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Wandering in and About the Rain

Via Nomadic Ambience

Rain is something that can be thought of almost as an echo of itself. Like an extrovert who only exists when there is an audience to perform for, rain is not heard so much as it is heard in reaction to something: an umbrella, the ground, a window, or generally some other surface that it strikes. There is also the way rain combines with the sound of wind, and how cloud cover and other related factors can utterly alter the broader sonic environment: dulling edges, nurturing a sense of closed space, walling off further distant noises.

That’s a case made clear in this video from the always on the move Nomadic Ambience (834,000 subscribers on YouTube as of this writing), who wandered around Chicago on a rainy day and captured not just the rain as heard against the protective gear that keeps the camera lens dry, but also as it bounces off the sidewalk, and creates slick streets and shallow puddles that cars turn into sound sources as they pass by.

The video captures some thunderstorm noise, and various urban sounds, one highlight being a tour guide aboard a boat that passes under a bridge just as we, the viewer experiencing this all YouTube-vicariously, cross midway: “It’s a very well-designed building” goes the narration, before trailing off, absorbed by the whir of the rain.

Video originally posted at YouTube.

By Marc Weidenbaum

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  • Marc Weidenbaum founded the website Disquiet.com in 1996 at the intersection of sound, art, and technology, and since 2012 has moderated the Disquiet Junto, an active online community of weekly music/sonic projects. He has written for Nature, Boing Boing, The Wire, Pitchfork, and NewMusicBox, among other periodicals. He is the author of the 33 1⁄3 book on Aphex Twin’s classic album Selected Ambient Works Volume II. Read more about his sonic consultancy, teaching, sound art, and work in film, comics, and other media

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