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Posted by on Jun 6, 2012

The distinctive din: ambient audio from around Gyeongju, Daegu, Seoul, Korea

I have been traveling a bit around Korea, trying to make the most of the time before I head off to London. And so I have been recording some ambient audio via Audioboo. Most of which I have posted to this blog before.

As always, I am intrigued by the mysterious qualities of audio. How, without accompanying imagery, these places can be ethereal, sometimes menacing, and always revealing. Each place I go (anywhere in the world) has its own natural rhythm, a din of sound beneath the visual surface that is unique unto itself. Often I can listen to these and pick out the place without reading or seeing anything. Some are intense, some are not, some are communal, some are solitary expanses. All are revealing.

So, the three I have for you today are

  • Gyeongju (경주), Korea
  • Dondaegu Station, Daegu (대구), Korea
  • Mapo, Seoul (서울), Korea: My home

Gyeongju (경주), Korea: April 2012

Gyeongju, Korea

A field. Kites flying, bicycles racing by. Picnics. Families with kids running around. A clear, blue sky. All of it comes through in the audio if you use your imagination. We were there to see ancient sites, burial mounds, celestial observatories from the 7th century. Instead, we were mesmerized by all the din of recreation.

Seo Sang Don ( 서상돈) in Daegu, Korea

Dongdaegu Station, Daegu (대구), Korea

We went there to research my wife’s family history. We saw his house, his land, his imprint on the city. We went back to the station and waited for our train to Gyeongju and a quick dinner before the return journey to Seoul. It was a brief stop, full of restless motion, full of Sunday night returns to homes and realities. For my wife and I, it was a stop before heading further afield. The din is decidedly different here than in Seoul Station.

Mapo, Seoul, Korea: My home

This is the sound of my street in Mapo, Seoul. It is a relatively major thoroughfare and there are those sounds of buses, taxis, brakes, pedestrian traffic and the like, but the din is different than say the din of New York. It isn’t angry, it isn’t aggressive. It is just purposeful. Not that you don’t hear car horns consistently, but it lacks the vitriol of some cities I have known and learned to grant grudging respect.

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  1. Surprisingly captivating stuff! Nice to see someone sharing a bit of South Korea in a completely unique way. Keep it up!

  2. Thanks, Michael! I love Korea and I love audio so this was a perfect match. Surprising how revealing audio can be in revealing the beats of a city.


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