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Daily Drip

Listen: Street Sounds of Chongqing from Urban Geographer Asa Roast

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For a fitting complement to our recent mix of underground Chengdu sounds, check out this 60-minute mix of field recordings compiled in the nearby megalopolis of Chongqing:

This compilation brings together some greatest hits of the standard Chinese megacity soundscape: metro station announcements, crowded street food stalls, even more crowded shopping meccas, the echoing vestiges of past construction booms and the persistent clang of new ones.

60 Minute Cities – Chongqing was put together by urban geographer and PhD candidate Asa Roast, who collected the samples over two years of field work in the densely populated southwestern city — one of four in China designated a “direct-administered municipality” and thus existing outside of the country’s province system, like Washington, D.C. in the United States.

In a text accompanying the release, Roast writes of the final entry: “Less than six months after I leave the place, a friend sends me a photo over WeChat of the whole area dug up, being prepared for the construction of more apartments / For now the sounds of the city stand at a distance / The horns and engines from the highway still carry across the green space, as does the hum of the light rail line, but it seems changed by the landscape that lies beyond it.“

Read the full text here, and explore more soundscapes from around China on the Soundcloud of 60 Minutes Cities‘ releasing label, Bivouac Recording.

Cover image: A cyberpunk, near-future take on the Chongqing skyline by artist 手指断了 a (“Broken Finger a”)

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Josh Feola
Josh Feola is a Shanghai-based writer and musician, and RADII's Culture Editor. His coverage of Chinese music and art has appeared in The Wire, Dazed, Artsy, LEAP, Tiny Mix Tapes, and more. He's been active in China's underground music scene since 2010 via his booking platform pangbianr.com, and is a former member of Beijing bands Chui Wan, SUBS, and Vagus Nerve.