The Sound of 2021

A slow weave of the past year’s Field Recordings, from sunset on the last day of 2020 to a gathering storm in Iceland at the end of 2021.

Sunset on the last day of the year, Marshes, London, UK in December 2020 – by Eleanor McDowall

“Two boys dare each other to run across the thin, cracked layer of ice which zigzags over the surface of the marshland. Their joyful shrieks scatter the crows from a tree nearby as canal boats and a train pass in the background.”

Shingle Beach, Newhaven, UK in January 2021 – by Sam Care

“It was cold, misty and I had the beach to myself… the only sound that could be heard was the waves on the shingle.”

Inside the log burner, Devoran, Cornwall, UK in January 2021 – by Chris Attaway 

“It was like it had its own little atmosphere and weather…”

Dawn chorus, Mallacoota, Australia in January 2021 – by Camilla Hannan

“The area was struck by massive bushfires in January 2020… There are still swathes of burnt bush, mainly tea tree but in other places the landscape is untouched and in others shoots and branches are emerging from burnt black trunks. The birds and wildlife have started to return also and the dawn chorus as you’ll hear is quite incredible.”

First snow of the year, London, UK on 24th January 2021 – by Eleanor McDowall

“Walking up the best local hill for sledding, the snow still falling.”

Thin ice, Salmon Falls River, on the border between Maine and New Hampshire, USA in February 2021 – by Katie Semro

“The river had a thin layer of ice all over the entire thing, and when the tide started going out the ice was pulled along and crashed into the bank.”

Early evening, Jayuya, Puerto Rico on 18th February 2021 – by Daniel Guillemette

“It was early evening and the coquí frogs were buzzing.”

Kill the Bill, Parliament Square, London, UK on 16th March 2021 at 6.52pm

“Outside the Houses of Parliament as the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts bill passes its second reading by 359 votes for to 263 against.”

Medical oxygen, end of a day shift, Lewisham Hospital, London, UK on 21st March 2021 – by Jess McArdle

“I’m sending a recording that I took on 21st March after a day shift. I’m standing outside Lewisham hospital near the medical oxygen canisters. I work as a midwife on the labour ward and we’re regularly giving people gas & air (nitrous oxide) which is piped in through the walls, as is the oxygen. The canisters of medical oxygen are huge and I guess this is the sound of the gas travelling through the pipes?”

Open window, Clapton, London, UK on Easter Sunday 2021 – by Rachel Byrne

“I’d been having a hard time. No further explanation needed past mentioning a pandemic. When this, a tendril, found it’s way out of a window and into my path…”

Spring peepers, Cherokee Marsh, Madison, Wisconsin, USA on 6th April 2021 – by Craig Eley

“I got a tip from a friend that the spring peepers were out, so went to this spot – appropriately named the Frog Pond – around sunset, and found this wonderful chorus.”

Church bells at dusk, Suffolk, UK on 9th April 2021 – by Melissa Harrison and Peter Rogers

“The church bell rings at dusk to mark the death of HRH The Duke of Edinburgh earlier in the day. It’s answered by a more distant bell in the next village, the sound carrying clearly on the quiet evening air…”

Immigration Van Stand-off, Kenmure Street, Glasgow, Scotland on Thursday 13th May 2021 – by Steve Urquhart

“A dawn raid in Glasgow’s Southside led to a day-long stand-off between immigration officials, police and local residents…”

Early morning in the forest, Kopalino, Poland on 20th May 2021 – by Michal Milczarek

“The birds in the lakeside forest sang along to my morning coffee.”

Package in Transit, from Bloomington, Indiana, to Beverly Shores, Indiana, USA on 24th May 2021 – by Alex Chambers

“This transit began on Monday, May 24, when the recorder, a Tascam DR-07x, was put in the mail from Bloomington, Indiana, to Beverly Shores, Indiana. The recorder was apparently accidentally turned on, and the record button pressed, through a padded envelope and a layer of bubble wrap…”

Retreating thunderstorm, Cuddington, Buckinghamshire, UK in May 2021 – by Paul Ridout

“An unexpected spring afternoon thunderstorm…”

Toad chorus, Canyonlands National Park, Utah, USA on 25th June 2021 – by Neroli Price

“After an almighty summer thunderstorm in the desert, the toads emerged from their burrows to sing in the mud.”

Semi-wild horses in Wicken Fen, Cambridgeshire, UK in summer 2021 – by Jake Lee-Savage

“Crouching behind the cow parsley with flies buzzing lazily around me. Listening to the sound of the wild horses hooves rumble across the plains…”

Q Train, Manhattan to Brooklyn, New York, USA on 23rd July 2021 – by JT Green

Punta Vagno, Genova, Italy in July 2021 – by Jonathan Zenti

“During a G8 meeting in July 2001, outside the golden cage of the city center where the most powerful men in the world gathered to decide the future of the planet, Genova became the scene of a brutal repression of the police against 300,000 protesters… One the of the worst moments of the battle was a Police charge in Punta Vagno… This recording has been taken in the same spot almost 20 years later, after a long interview with someone who found herself trapped in the charge. I sat on the bench to let the anger flow.”

One early morning, South Tangerang, Indonesia in August 2021 – by Arya Adyuta

“In the midst of fighting off the boredom due to the pandemic, waking up early has given me a new strength to get through the day.”

Kayaking with loons, Adirondack mountains, Upstate New York, USA in August – by Sean Johnson

“I was in the Adirondack mountains paddling my kayak with my recorder and came across a loon and it’s young. The wheezing in the beginning is the young loon breathing.”

Counter-protest at the ‘March for Life’, Parliament Square, London, UK on 4th September 2021 at 1.57pm – by Eleanor McDowall

“Standing with the Abortion Rights protest as the ‘March for Life’ streams round the corner of the square. In the week that the American Supreme Court voted 5-4 to allow a Texas law banning most abortions.“

Molhe Norte do Porto de Abrigo da Nazaré, Portugal on 16th October 2021 at 3.45 pm – by Sofia Saldanha 

“We hear the susurration of the ocean, seagulls, fishing boats and voices of those who stop to contemplate the vastness of the Atlantic.”

Rain on a Tin Shed Roof, Sixmilebridge, County Clare, Ireland in October 2021 – by Barnaby Nutt

“We’re at the mercy of the Atlantic ocean and catch all the weather that has gathered between here and America. This means rain, wind and more rain.”

Midday, Wellsford State Forest, Wellsford, Victoria, Australia on 5th November 2021 – by Jon Tjhia

“Birds, bugs, breeze, bushes, Box-Ironbark.”

Dusk at Lerryn Creek on the Fowey Estuary, Cornwall, UK on 15th November 2021 – by Celia Robbins

“At one point a group of jackdaws flew directly overhead, it was almost dark, and for a few seconds I couldn’t figure out what the sound was – their wing beats.” 

Ghostly White Christmas, Sussex, UK at dusk on 19th November 2021 – by Phil Smith

“…later on that day, in a different park at the end of another road, dark having fallen by now, we met again and found here the right space to offer up our gentle notes.”

Before the storm, Stykkishólmur, Iceland in late November 2021 – by Ted White

“There was a storm brewing so after dinner I went out and hunkered down in the grass for a few hours and managed to capture some nice wind and subtle snow sounds.”