Quarantine Supercut

Assembled and produced by Drew Daniel
Created in conjunction with The Creative Independent and Kickstarter

Listen to “Quarantine Supercut” at the TCI IRL page

“Quarantine Supercut” was built from the submissions of many people who responded to a public call for field recordings of the sounds of life under quarantine. The first week there were forty sounds sent to the Creative Independent, the second week sixty more, the third week another eighty more. On top of that, as word spread about the project even more people began to email me directly with their sounds, and many people sent multiple files; by the deadline, roughly two hundred participants had sent me about three hundred sounds total. There are submissions from across the United States (New York to Kentucky, California to the Carolinas), and from across the planet: there were submissions from Italy, Germany, Mexico, Czech Republic, India, Kenya and many anonymous and untitled submissions of unknown origin.

Though I eliminated submissions that were recordings of music, I tried to use as many submissions as I could. I used EQ to try to clean up and focus each sound, but I did not otherwise process or manipulate these sounds. Sometimes, a single sound is heard in isolation. At other times, I decided to cluster and overlay the sounds into distinct areas (at its densest there are twelve separate layers playing simultaneously). The piece is divided into an indoor section and an outdoor section, with subthemes (cooking, pets, childcare, working from home, online learning, wildlife/birds, coughs, public announcements). Sometimes the threat of the coronavirus is front and center; sometimes it’s far in the background. The emotional response to sound is subjective and varies from listener to listener, but I hear many different attitudes towards quarantine within these recordings; domestic calm, annoyance, dread, humor, and the sound of making do.

I’m grateful to The Creative Independent for asking me to do this, and to everyone who took part in the project and trusted me with their sounds. While creating the piece, I struggled with the conclusion: how long will this go on? How will it end? Ultimately, I chose recordings of a passing train, and of neighbors talking to each other across the distance of a balcony. I wanted to remind us of the fragile social links that persist even in the midst of isolation.

Assembled at home in Baltimore under quarantine, 2020; mastering by Jeff Carey

You can check out our other TCI Transmissions here