Soundscape Hamilton – Hamilton Hall

Soundscape Hamilton Art Project – recorded 28 Aug 2015. What does a building sound like? Soundscape Hamilton is an art project that explores the sound profile of each building.

Soundscape Hamilton Project – Burke Sciences Building

Soundscape Hamilton Project – recording the sound profile of campus buildings. The sound profile of the Burke Sciences Building was recorded on August 28, 2015.

Urban #HamOnt Sound Mapping



We often define landscapes by appearance, but they are also defined by sound.

Hunter and MacNab is an interesting mix of technology and history.  The MacNab Street Church was built in 1854 and expressed the confidence and belief in progress and faith.  By the 1890s, the Toronto-Hamilton and Buffalo Railway had ripped through the heart of Hamilton with railway tracks that divided rich and poor communities.  Less than 20 feet from the front door of the church, the physical barriers to the downtown would only grow with the development of the car and the increase road traffic on Hunter Street.

Equal to the physical barriers are the sound barriers.  Here are sounds of trains and cars that separate the Downtown business districts from the Durand neighborhood.

The first sound track marks the arrival of the commuter train from Toronto.

The second clip records the sound of the accessible crosswalk, along with the early evening car traffic.

Chris Erskine


Monday’s Update

Monday’s Update for March 3, 2014

Every Monday, I post a review of my activities for the past week. The goal is not only to provide an update, but to offer a record of my development as an artist. This week’s video was recorded on March 2, 2014 at 8:41 pm.

1.)    Making mobile videos and the continuing problem of sound quality.

Thank you to everyone who provided feedback on the poor sound quality of my last video update.  As I have stated in earlier updates, I am committed to making my reports outside of the studio.  My art is rooted in the outside world, so I feel the need to capture that in my updates through videos and pictures.

Part of the problem with the sound is the environment; I am usually surrounded by glass and other hard surfaces.  Unfortunately, I have limited ability to eliminate this problem, but I will try to control it as much as possible.

Another problem is my inability to find a way to separately adjust the recording sound levels of the Zoom build in microphone and the external Lavalier microphone.

My goal is to do most of the recording work on location; to avoid as much post-production work as possible. Particularly, I want to avoid the obvious solution of creating a separate sound track and then matching it up to the video  in post-production.  These videos are supposed to be quick and dirty postings and not polished short films.

Getting these updates prepared are already time-consuming.  After recording them, I have to load them into Adobe Premier Elements 12 and do all the post-production edits.  After editing, I save (render) the video to the computer and then upload it to Youtube.  All this work can take anywhere from 1-3 hours depending on the length of the video update.

Today’s video took 45 minutes to edit and render; another 30 minutes to upload.  Writing the text and then posting the various elements to the blog can take another 1-3 hours.  As a result, you may notice some grammatical errors in the film credits and blog text.

Nevertheless, you should be able to hear what I am saying about sound quality.

One of my co-workers had a few friends over to his place and they happen to see one of my reports.  They were surprised that I would do this in public.  I don’t know if laughing also occurred or not.

2.)    Putting in studio time

My approach to art is to get into the studio every day; good days or bad.  This way I can consistently work through various challenges and projects.  Of course, this is not happening with the kids are around.  I am now trying to do early mornings, unfortunately it is not working.  They hear me go downstairs and they figure it is time to get up.  As a result, work on the Westdale House is taking more time.

Westdale House - 28 Feb 2014
Westdale House – 28 Feb 2014

3.)    Music in the studio

When I am in the studio, I am constantly listening to music.  One guy I really like is Ernst Burns.  He plays the electric guitar, and he is quite brilliant. The guy is also very consistent in his efforts to record and share his music on Youtube.  He has created almost 500 videos. Truly amazing.  The sound of the electric guitar is so retro and that it is modern; a refreshing change from most of today’s music.  He is someone you should check out.

Ernst Burns
Ernst Burns

4.)    Fund Raising Events for 27 Bold.

There are several fund-raising events occurring in the community for the residents who lost everything in the fire.  First Credit Union has set up an account that people can make donations.  There are also several fund-raising events being organized. Hamilton is such a great community.

Fund raising for resident displaced by the 27 Bold Fire
Fund raising for resident displaced by the 27 Bold Fire

5.)    Another Endangered Building

The Century Manor, on the Mountain, is endangered because of neglect.  This great building is one of the last surviving structures associated with the Hamilton Asylum for the Insane.  The main building was torn down in the 1950s and this structure used to house the criminal insane.  For many, this was the last place they ever knew.  I hope to visit the site in the next few weeks and film/photograph the building.

6.)     James Street Baptist Church

There were media reports that the partial demolition will start sometime in March.