As an introduction to the Music Biodiversity Project, Repertorial founder Eduardo Neve shares his contribution to the Arts and Soul Online Festival: A music composition titled “The outdoors will be our home again” that combines piano and the sounds of birds recorded by several contributors to the Barcelona Confinement Soundscape, in an invitation to reimagine our relationship with home, the outdoors and the possibilities of new ways of relating to our environment.
Lockdowns during the pandemic ignited a revalorization of the outdoors as a space of interaction and activity. Even though many of us spent the most time in our homes, we didn’t always fully feel at home. We came to understand that our sense of feeling at home is also the ability to feel and be well outside.
At the same time, we saw that as lockdowns went on, many species started thriving again in habitats that had previously given way to human activity. evidencing the degree to which outdoor human activities have impacted ecosystems, as well as the regenerative capacities of a variety of ecosystems if they are given the space for recovery.
We have thus seen that although we long being outdoors and feeling at home outside again, we also long for something different from what he had before the pandemic. We are more aware of the extent to which some ways of feeling well and at home outdoors were at odds with the sustainability of the habitats of many other species – their homes too. Our longing for the outdoors during the pandemic has propelled us to imagine new ways of being outside that are more harmonious with the life of other species and the environment.
The sounds that inspired this composition come from the Barcelona Confinement Soundscape Project, with sounds that the people of Barcelona recorded from their windows and balconies during the lockdown. These recordings show the changes in the soundscape of Barcelona during lockdown with the reduction of noise levels. Birdsongs, which emerged with a renewed clarity and intensity, were the starting point to imagine melodies and rhythms for the composition, which is in a constant dialogue with the birds. As the music composition evolves, the birdsongs join the melodies and rhythms they inspired.
The purpose of the composition was twofold. First, it aimed to sonically recreate the sense of being outdoors to ameliorate lockdown exhaustion. The field recordings of the birds contribute to this with the evoking power of the birdsongs. Additionally, some reverb was applied to the piano in order to amplify the sense of spaciousness. Some of the melodic phrases end with silences for an entire bar to give space for the light reverb.
Second, the composition aimed to provide a sense of hope – that the lockdown shall be over and we will be able to feel really at home as we can spend more time outdoors – thus the name “The outdoors will be our home again.” But “again” here is not the same as before. It is a reimagined recovery of a more balanced and sustainable way of being outside, an invitation to imagine ways in which we may continue to hear the birds, other animals, and their habitats, as they found new spaces for making their voices heard during the lockdown. How will we respond to their call?
If you are still confined, we hope that this piece may take you on a sonic journey to a more spacious and hopeful place. And if you can enjoy the outdoors again, we hope that this piece may inspire you to explore new harmonious ways of being at home outdoors.