Music

Central Park Sound Tunnel, Now Playing Back That Argument You Had In the Zoo A Few Months Back

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John Morton, the New York musician famous for his elaborate music box-aided compositions, has apparently talked the city and Central Park into allowing him to use the pedestrian tunnel just north of the zoo as a site for an audio installation, Central Park Sound Tunnel, set to run through September. Morton covertly stalked the park for around 40 days, secretly recording various sounds–people arguing, the stray sounds of a baseball game, etc. A computer program randomizes the resulting myriad sound files, which are then triggered to play in 20-minute bursts by the sound of the nearby George Delacorte clock. The Times turns this entertaining bit of local color up:

    William Roberts, a hotel room-service worker who installs himself daily on a bench near the tunnel to drink coffee and read the newspaper, said he had at first mistaken the sounds emanating from [the tunnel] for some kind of bizarre enticement to visit the zoo. “But then I heard voices and jackhammers, and I couldn’t figure out what was happening in there,” said Mr. Roberts, who added that as a music lover with extremely catholic tastes, he has been enjoying the daily found-noise concerts (which will continue daily from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. through Sept. 10). “I don’t know what to call it,” he said, “but I like it.”

Entertainingly irritating sound samples from the installation can be found here.

Sound Tunnel: Avant-Garde Park Portrait [NY Times]
Central Park Sound Tunnel [NYC Parks]