Saturday, July 25, 2009

Soundtrack for Spaces?

A brief lull in posting due to a visit from family, and a kick-ass barbecue last weekend - which culminated in the inaugural usage of the new backyard fire pit. As an aside... this past Friday, we took a short half-day trip to a popular hiking spot in the Columbia River Gorge, with the route passing through the Historic Columbia River Highway. This scenic and windy route is a must-see both for the route itself, and for the multiple trailheads to waterfall hikes throughout the gorge.

So yes, soundtrack... as my passengers dozed on the slow road, I cued up the I-Pod with the fabulous Seattle band Fleet Foxes, which btw is fabulous driving music. As the road twisted, turned, slowed and sped up, and moved from light to dappled sun to dark - the music stayed sycopated perfectly... with lyrical and musical ebb and flow that seemed choreographed by some unseen hand.

:: image via Travel Oregon

:: image via Wild Nature Images

A video of the Fleet Foxes (if'n you don't know them) is below... and check out their tunes on their MySpace page.

Fleet Foxes

One thing that this made me think of what the idea of purposeful insertion of music into the idea of the narrative of the city, such as GPS-enabled smart phones and portable music devices that play particular rhythms or artists based on location, time, and activity - or better yet, are connected to traffic speed and the myriad ebbs and flows of city life. Perhaps an antidote to the obvious disconnect from reality that technological devices seem to elicit.

Directed back to Landscape Architecture, there are precedents in the idea of Halprin's RSVP Cycles and the conceptual framework of producing 'scores' of spaces.

:: image via google images

It also got me thinking about other sountracks to places both urban, wilderness, linear or static... such as my propensity to listen to Band of Horses while biking home from work, or the strange and short lived jogging to Elliott Smith. Anyone have the specific soundtrack to your urban life?


  1. I love the idea of technology that is responsive to place, space and movement. Halprin's RSVP cycles are a good starting place. The idea of jogging to Elliot Smith made me laugh until my eyes were moist. Thanks.

  2. I think it may have been an indication of how fast I was going whilst jogging... :)

  3. I read this post a while ago, and have since been trying to think of an example of a good soundtrack. Just found them this week, but if you haven't heard Megafaun's Gather Form & Fly, it's well worth it. They put on a stunning show at Mississippi Studios last week.

  4. Thanks Hector.
    Will definitely give it a listen...


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