"Well, listen. .. "is a sound composition about the acoustic community of Toronto Island and Toronto Harbour. The project explores how people create and experience acoustic community, how perceptions of the soundscape are related to attitudes about nature and culture, and how power relationships are articulated through sound. The project is based in environmental cultural studies and in sound ecology, notably the work of Williams (1973), Schafer (1977), Westerkamp (2002) and Truax (1984), and concludes seven months of soundwalks, interviews, composition, editing and field research.
Participants discussed the soundscape of Toronto Island, noise pollution in Toronto Harbour and the relationship between sound, community and ecology. These interviews were edited and re-assembled in a manner inspired by the contrapuntal voice compositions of Glenn Gould. Field recordings reflect the complex mix of natural, social, and industrial sounds that make up the soundscape of the harbour, and document the acts of sound walking and deep listening that are the core methods of soundscape research.
The composition creates an imaginary aural space that integrates the voices and reflections of the Island's acoustic community with the contested soundscape of their island home. The project paper outlines the theory and methods that informed the sound composition, and further explores the political economy of noise pollution, especially in relation to the Docks nightclub dispute and to current research in sound ecology.