Radio Lento podcast

115 Coastal city sleeping (sleep safe)

April 16, 2022

What makes that city noise at night? That strangely non-descript hum. That audible presence that seems to be made of nothing and everything, and comes from nowhere and everywhere, and that is so familiar to us city dwellers. Its origin is uncertain. Probably impossible to pin down. City hum does not exist outside of cities though, so that at least explains something. Perhaps that's its charm. That city hum can't be explained. And so why, like other things that cannot be fully explained, it seems to possess some very valuable properties. Especially to those seeking rest.

At night, city hum with its endless lulling flow, seeps in through every window open. Every door ajar. Aural balm, for tired minds. And it greets the garden wonderer, come out to look for stars, with a soft inky black message, that says, welcome, to the night. Welcome, to these tawny roosted hours, watched over by owls. To this other version of the same world, where light shrinks to speckled dots, and all that is, all that is anything, is there to be seen through listening. City hum ebbs and flows. Echoes with night birds, and susurates between countless details across landscape forms. Listening into it, really listening to hear into its depths, can be like counting sheep. Soft city sheep, come to help you listen, come to help you sleep.
This is a section of an all night recording we made in Exeter a few days ago. It's in the back garden of a house from 1am. It captures the stillness of the city and two tawny owls against a backdrop of dreamy sounding seagulls. Exeter is in Devon, in the South West of England.

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