Cities and Memory – Future Cities

Today Future Cities goes live and I am extremely honoured to have my track ‘ Futility’ included on this lovely collection of reimagined field recordings by audio artists / musicians from all over the world.

Future Cities is the largest ever survey of the sounds of cities around the world, examining how the soundscapes of our cities across 81 countries are changing and what that means for us all.

These were my original submission notes in February 2020 –


The original sound recording I chose was sound 93 – Sounds of rainfall in the urban Krakow landscape 50°03′41″N / 19°56′14″E – Soundscape of early morning medium-to-light rainfall on a small street (ul. Syrokomli) in Krakow, Poland. Rainfall sounds were amplified by sectioned glass and metal seat below window pane by Michael Gatonska.

It took me a while to decide on my theme and I had a few ideas. However, many of my tracks are based on memories and things I see and a memory came to mind of several moths caught in an ornamental lamp shade. Their wings hit the side of the shade in ever increasing panic.

The track consists of several sections of the original rain recording and processed, firstly to create a tinkling sound representing the smaller moth and then also a track emulating the panic of the wings against the shade. Other electronic sounds are used to create a piece where the movements become more frenetic but where escape is ultimately futile.

Here are my thoughts in October 2020 –

This track was submitted in February 2020 and at the time we were on the cusp of the pandemic. I don’t know if I had some strange foresight or what but on the surface Futility is about a memory of trapped moths in a lampshade and may not seem to be wholly about Future Cities but actually on second thoughts it is. Some of us feel trapped in the huge metropolises we have built, seeking to escape and this may seem all the more truthful now that we have entered the 8th month of the pandemic. Like moths, we have been attracted to the bright lights and noise of the huge cities and this has had a detrimental effect on the environment and on us as humans.

On relistening and re reading my submission notes, I find on reflection, Futility is about in some way, failure, collapse and hope. The moths are perennially trapped in the lampshade and in my memories. and on the surface it may seem pessimistic and dark, but I feel it is hopeful and positive in sound.

There is hope if we stop, listen and learn from nature. It’s given us enough warnings.

Sometimes, moths do escape the lure of the lamplight.