Listen Here

Welcome to ListenHERE

This is your guide to exploring the Spires & Steeples Arts and Heritage Trail through a variety of digital sound recordings.

You can download the recordings here or hire a preloaded mp3 player from the following venues

Lincoln - Drill Hall, Freeschool Lane, Lincoln LN2 1EY. Telephone 01522 873891 – opening hours: 10am to 5pm, Monday to Saturday.

Metheringham – Library, High Street , Metheringham LN4 3DZ. Telephone 01522 782010 – opening hours: Monday, 10am to 1pm, Tuesday, closed, Wednesday, 2pm to 7pm, Thursday, closed, Friday, 10am to 4pm, Saturday, 10am  to 1pm, Sunday, closed.

Sleaford – The Hub, National Centre for Craft & Design, Navigation Wharf, Carre Street, Sleaford NG34 7TW. Telephone 01529 308710 – opening hours: 10am to 5pm, Monday to Sunday.

We hope you will find the tracks inspire you and complement your walk.

The tracks are a mixture of recordings from villagers along the route from Lincoln to Metheringham, Lincolnshire folk songs performed by local singer Brian Dawson, and a specially commissioned piece of binaural sound work from composer Dallas Simpson.

The binaural sound work involved recordings being made over the route between Lincoln and Metheringham. These were then chopped into sections, stacked up and played in parallel. This has resulted in 5 tracks of approximately 7 minutes each, each track containing 8 layers of sound on top of one another.

The essence of binaural sound is that recordings are made through microphones placed in both ears, meaning that they need to be listened to through headphones for best effect. These pieces also include elements of environmental sound improvisation, ie 'playing' otherwise silent surfaces with hands and feet.

Please refer to the track listing for more details.

While you can listen to the tracks in numerical order, you can also play the tracks in whatever sequence you want!

Binaural sound works

An important aspect of Dallas Simpson's work as a sound artist is the use of environmental improvisation, that is, the physical sounding of otherwise silent surfaces and objects with his hands and feet. The aim is to bring into acoustic visibility elements of the environment that are purely visual and material, which would otherwise be invisible (as silent objects) in a sound-only recording. In addition, apart from physically stimulating silent objects and surfaces, the sounding of spaces often elicits  reverberation and echo, which provide the listener with additional information about the nature of a location. It is a playful free improvisation technique, child-like in simplicity, the sort of thing any gleeful child may do when exploring somewhere new for the first time. Yet the objective is complex and profound.

Some comments from the artist
“I offer these comments purely for the listener to gain some insight into my vision of the work and my own creative process.

The structure of the work preserves all the recorded content for the whole walk, save some casual conversation, which has been edited out. The recording was edited from four master tapes into a continuous audio stream about four and a half hours long, then chopped into seven minute sections. Eight seven minute sections were stacked up and played in parallel as eight layers for each of the five 'mixes', so for the final work, each 7 minutes mix represents about 56 minutes in real time of the recorded walk. A consequence of the layered structure is that strong sounds in any 7 minute layer are carried through the whole 7 minutes of the mix. This is particularly evident with traffic noise. However, the predominance of traffic in these sound works serves to emphasise the current issue of the amount of traffic on our roads, particularly in cities, towns and villages, with the resultant consequence of noise pollution.

But, second, from a creative perspective, the linear flow of traffic on both sides evokes, among other things, the presence of a kind of 'sonic passage' - a sound evocation of a waymarked route. In addition the traffic motion in itself is an enchanting experience. If heard amongst real traffic there is a synergy and in some cases, at appropriate listening levels, the difference between real and 'virtual' traffic may  be difficult to discern. Conversely, listening in the quieter areas of countryside there is a dramatic and interesting, even abstract, juxtaposition between the sound flow of invisible traffic and the tranquility of the surrounding natural world.

A feature of my improvisation is that some structures are sounded in a particular way so that they may be recognisable. direction signposts and information signs were sounded by 'drumming' the metal or wooden support poles and one crossing of the railway line was signed by making a classical 'train rhythm' on the sign of the level crossing. But remember that each mix does not represent pure linear time, so sound events do not necessarily appear in the mix in the same order that they will be encountered along the walk. it makes an interesting 'sonic jigsaw' for you to puzzle out!”

Listening recommendations from the artist
“Note: Headphones/earphones essential for pure binaural recordings!

Like the walk itself, repeated listening should be rewarding in the appreciation of the detail. Each 7 minute section represents eight 7 minute sections (56 minutes) of real time running in parallel so there is a lot of sonic information to appreciate and enjoy.

- try listening at different volume levels while on the walk. This will change the ‘merge’ between the environment you are in and the recording.

- try different volume levels at home or in a quiet space. Again different details and overall patterns will become apparent.

For the adventurous try your own sound improvisations, but please be careful. Objects and surfaces can have invisible sharp edges which may be dangerous. Remember to wash your hands at the end of the walk. You could wear gloves, but this reduces the tactile feedback essential for restraint. Over exuberance may lead to damage and injury to yourself and the environment but being able to reach that understanding through experience is really the point of the exercise.

Our presence in any environment offers exciting experiences and opportunities. Our lives depend upon the making of choices that may be carefully weighed against outcomes, and arising from the choices from this variety of options the ethics and morals of our behaviour can be judged, for every action has its consequences.

Last but not least – enjoy your walking – and listening!”