Sound or Noise

Podcasts are a way for me to enjoy random lectures on topics that I am generally interested in, but will probably never learn in school. I started listening to podcasts regularly about 10 months ago. The first podcast that got me hooked was 99% invisible. Instead of scrolling and starting at a random episode, I started at the first episode I could find on the inter-web (or internet if you’re cool like that).

Want to take a wee gander into this awesomeness? Go ahead!

The first episode is on acoustic design, which at first didn’t seem that interesting to me. But as I got half way I started to think of sound and noise that I hear in the environment around me.

I was hooked by this episode and the questions, “what is your noise” and “what is your favourite sound”. The podcast was simple and easy to listen, but the most important thing was that it got me thinking through out my day and most of the week.

Roman Mars introduced a world of design that I had never really put much thought into (because if a design is really good it should be invisible).The design topics that are discussed in each episode have given my mind something to do during the day. It gave a me an ongoing scavenger hunt to find the unnoticeable.

But this first episode has never really left my mind. Through out my day I always look for “sounds” and “noise” on a spectrum.I would basically keep an eye out for items that I would find appealing to my senses (sight, sound, smell touch and taste — if you needed a touch up on your senses)

So here is a description of what I have found appealing and annoying lately:

City Traffic Noise

I grew up in a small town where the train horn could be heard in any part of town because it is pretty quiet. At night I fell asleep to mostly silence (frogs seem to sing the song of their people at night during the summer but that is relaxing). Moving to the city, traffic noise became the bane of my existence.The noise of buses is on the top of my traffic list. It was all I could hear for the first year. I thought that if I moved into an apartment that was set higher up I would be above the noise of the street. I would be able to sit out on the balcony and enjoy the view of my city and majestically take in the city lights…I was dead wrong. The sound design is impeccable, so much so that I am able hear everything from the conversations of pedestrians, the cool music playing in peoples cars or motorbikes and the ever so loud drone of the buses. 😒

I could also complain about sirens from the busy street… but the blaring siren contributes to saving a person life.


Majestic snowflakes

Snow sucks when you are stuck with it for 5 to 6 months. I am entranced by the stuff but not the bitter cold that usually comes along with it. Although I have lived with the snow every year of my life, I still get excited to watch snowflakes fall. Snow offers two sounds that I enjoy. The first is the crunch of snow as you walk on top of a fresh coating on the ground. I’m not sure why it is appealing but it makes me take out my earbuds while I walk to listen. I may be walking with my roommates and friends and pay more attention to the sound of the snow crunching under our feet than the conversation at hand. The second sound is complete silence. When I go up in the mountains during the winter, the heavy layer of snow seems to blanket all noise of the forest. There is no sound or noise. It is incredible to just have everything shut out. To go from a car engine and car radio in the background to hearing your breaths. It’s a cleanse of my sound and noise pallet.

gif of snow from