Two Rumfords

Two Rumfords (2020) was commissioned by the editors of the River Valley, Maine report, one of the nine reports which make up the Architecture League NY’s American Roundtable project.

A collaboration with N.B.Aldrich, Two Rumfords is an acoustic ecology composition created using two multi-channel field recordings. The first recording was made at the outflow of the Mt. Zircon spring, which is most of the way up Mt Zircon, just south of the town of Rumford, Maine. The second recording was made underneath the Main St. bridge which crosses the Swift River and connects Mexico, Maine with Rumford.

Songbirds (prominently, a phoebe and an ovenbird) and water flowing out of the Mt. Zircon spring’s drain dominate the first recording. Strongly audible in the second recording are sounds of traffic and industry, specifically the huge ND Paper mill just on the other side of the river in Rumford.

One of the goals of the composition is a contrast of infrastructural elements in Maine’s River Valley—in this case, the spring, now owned by Nestle, situated in a relatively undisturbed mountainside location; and the paper mill, dominating the valley below. These two elements are rendered audible and contrasted in the composition itself.

We used a method of collecting sound which gathers sonic aspects of each location which are unavailable to a listener standing in the space; these are recorded using contact microphones, hydrophones (underwater microphones) or microphones hidden away in unreachable spaces. These sounds, unhearable by the unaided human ear, are added to the easily-audible airborne soundscape creating a hyperreal sonic representation of each space.

Read more about the project and hear Two Rumfords on the River Valley, Maine report page at this link.


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