„Guten Tag!“ from Berlin. The first tones I’m publishing from this city are ones captured from the soundscape familiar to tourists. While walking around the center of Berlin (Mitte), these are the sorts of sounds you’d likely encounter on a stroll through the area. These sound files were recorded “on the fly” in locations where I was just wandering, looking, and listening. More like audio snap shots or “post cards,” these tones are quite unlike most of the other tones in the project (which are captureed through field recordings conducted with local[ly toned] project collaborators).
Within this series, when I recorded sounds made by individuals in public places, I asked for their permission.
Some of the links here are to the German Wikipedia. Use a web page or browser translation program to read those links in English.
I’m grateful to the artist Carolina Loyola-Garcia (also here in Berlin as part of the S.Low Projekt), who palled around with me during this day of mini-Ringtone Reconnaissance Missions. She helped by shooting some of the photographs and by lending me her camera. She’s half of the “we” I refer to in this post.
The first sound I wanted to record was an accordion I heard while walking along the Spree on Museum Island (Museuminsel). The musician, playing for tips, requested anonymity. Here is the Museuminsel Accordion Tone.
There’s also a lovely little fish fountain on Museuminsel featuring one calm and quiet stream of water coming straight out of the mouth of the fish. And since the three most pleasant sounds, according to the research of R. Murray Schafer, in his book, The Tuning of the World (The Soundscape), are running water, birdsong and church bells, I made this simple Fischbrunnen klingelton (Fish Fountain Ringtone).
Heading towards the Reichstag (the building which houses the German parliament) near the Brandenburger Tor (Brandenburg Gate), we noticed a border guard (of sorts)–a costumed man in East German (DDR/GDR) uniform stamping papers for tourists.
He handed out and stamped “official papers” and beautiful post cards, that he told me were made from illustrations of the Brandenburger Tor that had been gifts from artists. He questioned tourists who were curious enough to approach, “Why are you smiling? Please look me directly in the eye. Do you have any alcohol or cigarettes?” Here’s the Brandenburger Tor Check Point Ringtone. You’ll hear this gentleman stamping papers (along with the sound made by these Peruvian-sounding musicians in Native American costume-ey dress).
As soon as we neared the Reichstag, I could hear a lot of bird song. Little sparrows, apparently, love to hop and chirp about the bushes in the plaza near the famous building. Very hard to see them, more difficult to photograph them, but you sure can hear them! Here’s the Reichstag Vogelgesang klingelton (Reichstag Birdsong Ringtone).
Sincere thanks to the (anonymous) local/Berliner audio-contributors in Mitte who allowed me to record and photograph them and the source of their sounds! This series is dedicated to you.