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Issue 117 - Sonic immersion

Whisky Magazine Issue 117
February 2014


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Sonic immersion

The joys of discovering sounds and an appreciation of silence

I have been thinking a lot about sound, silence and whisky recently. We seems to live in a world that is constantly bombarding us with noise; whether its radios in cars, music in shops, the need for train operators to continually update us on travel progress (or lack of) and the amount of sandwiches available, and of course the general noise of the human maelstrom of a city.

Then there are other sounds that are nearly always there, lurking behind the everyday, the constant hum of traffic, the whirl of air conditioning, heavy plant and machinery grinding away.

The chatter of the natural world is hidden away behind all these layers of man made intrusion, especially if you live in a big city. It is heard to decipher the wind in the trees sometimes, and the only bird song we might hear is the clatter of the dawn chorus or the excited chirping that heralds in Spring.

There are some incredible sounds out there, and some that we should stop and appreciate. The world is full of unusual sonic phenomena.

This was brought home to me in an interview I listened to on the BBC recently. There is a professor at the University of Salford, in the north of England, who is an expert on acoustics and audio engineering. He is effectively the sonic equivalent of a whisky geek. Hearing him talk was one of those moments when I had a little job envy.

In his latest book, Sonic Wonderland, Professor Trevor Cox goes in search of the sonic wonders of the world. This renowned expert who engineers cla...

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