When I was first contacted about participating in 60 Minute Cities, I was thrilled, because it couldn’t have come at a more interesting time.
To understand my recordings it is important to understand my situation. I am a 25 year old from the UK. In September 2016, I undertook a big change in my life and followed my girlfriend, Wendy, to her home city of Paris.
I had never previously been out of the UK for more than 2 weeks at a time. Whilst geographically close, the cultures of the countries are strikingly different. The French hold their language and way of life close to their hearts. From the culture shock in moving to England that Wendy had experienced, I knew I would receive something similar. I had also never really tried to learn a language before. As is the case with many native English speakers, I had never taken language learning seriously at school and had forgotten nearly everything other than a few words.
It is hard to say exactly why I wasn’t more excited. I think it had a lot to do with the level of uncertainty and the scale of the challenge that I faced. With limited savings, I had no idea of how easily I would pick up the language or find a job. (France’s unemployment rate sits stubbornly around 10%) This always rested in the back of my mind. In such an expensive city it was necessary to live frugally. I couldn’t afford to eat out much or enjoy the cities’ nightlife. Instead, I spent time visiting art galleries and museums (free for EU citizens under 26) parks, markets and just walking the streets.
My contribution is a sonic diary of my explorations of Paris through a cold, grey autumn. The experience was sometimes daunting and isolating, often surreal but always beautiful and fascinating. As I write this now, I am sitting in my new flat in the southern city of Toulouse, ready to start my first job in France shortly.
All of these recordings have a deep meaning to me because they will forever represent a time in my life when I was at my most uncertain and at my most curious. I tried to revisit and record places that were not just noteworthy in their character, but also held particular thoughts or emotions for me.
France’s national security is still on high alert following the recent terrorist attacks. I grew accustomed to having my bags checked at the entrances to most buildings and walking past national security teams armed with assault rifles. Due to this, the majority of my recordings were done stealthily using the ‘binaural’ recording technique. Because of this, the best way to listen to the recordings is with headphones, as you will get a sense of direction, (although you can still enjoy perfectly well without).
Ben Gale（1991年出生于英国萨默塞特郡）是一位实地录音师和录音剪辑师，现居法国南部/他对实地录音的热情开始于他在大学学习音乐技术的时候，当时他在冰岛修一个录音课程/自那之后，他就开始探索他身边的声音世界，通过收录声音片段收获不同的体验/这是Ben发布的第一个实地录音作品/Ben的其他作品包括外景录音、电影和纪录片的声音剪辑以及他正在进行的一个个人项目— 利用双声道声音设计制作的儿童有声书。
Ben Gale (Somerset, UK 1991) is a field recordist and sound editor currently living in the south of France / His passion for field recording began whilst studying music technology at university, when he attended a sound recording course in Iceland / Since then he has been exploring the sonic world around him and gaining experience in capturing fragments of it / This is Ben’s first field recording release / Ben’s other work includes location recording and sound editing for film and documentary, as well as his ongoing personal project producing childrens’ audiobooks with binaural sound design //