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Photo by Celia Mitchell (2015/16 Semester Photo Contest Entry), Indonesia Semester.

Sounds (Terima Kasih)

I just arrived in Jokja the other day and now, as I walk around, I feel comforted by the sounds of a city. I’ve been in many cities across the United States and Europe but Yogyakarta is my first in South-East Asia and the sounds here can be as foreign as the people, food, or language. Of course there are familiar sounds like the constant traffic on the streets throughout the night but there are still small differences. A night in New York City is filled with humming taxi cabs, loud honks, and the occasional yell which can climb into apartments as high as the 19th floor. Here, writing this in a hotel literally across the world, there are motorbikes, loud fans, crickets, and a call to prayer from every mosque five times a day. I decided to take many of these sounds, both new and familiar, and synthesize them into a two minute expression of what I hear. You can listen to it here. (headphones are highly recommended.)

The sounds I used for the project:

Broom sweeping the porch

Me pulling the cap off of my deoderant (its very hot and humid out here)

Me tapping the sink in my hotel room

The chordal instrument is an indoor fan that I sampled and harmonized

A faucet running

Me undoing the velcro on my sandals (most houses here are “shoes off”)

My ukulele which I brought to make sure my fingers don’t forget how to make music

A motorcycle as it takes off into traffic

The sound of the market five minutes from the program house.

My Macbook Air trying to make sense of the words “Terima Kasih”