Sound Envelope HK-LDN

Making and exchanging field recordings and soundscapes between Hong Kong and London

Virtual exhibition as part of SPARK 2021 online festival supported by the British Council. Recommended browser: Chrome.

Led by Ryo Ikeshiro (SoundLab, School of Creative Media, City University of Hong Kong) and Tom Tlalim (Centre for Creative Research, Wimbledon College of Arts, University of the Arts London), with Dawn Scarfe and András Blazsek.

Sound Envelope uses field recordings and listening as a framework for encouraging dialogue and artistic and cultural exchange between Hong Kong and London – cities that are geographically remote but share a long history. The act of listening attentively whilst recording, playing back and mixing field recordings can make one attuned to subtle variations in our everyday sound environment, and become receptive to those of others. The title references the Asian tradition of giving money in envelopes, to wish for well-being and good fortune. The project is built on the notion of giving sounds as a gift, as a framework for artistic collaboration and exchange.

A diverse group of residents from Hong Kong and London including students from the City University Hong Kong and the University of the Arts London took part in workshops on sound and listening and created field recordings in their vicinity. The recordings were then shared amongst the participants in order to listen to a variety of sound worlds from the two cities to initiate conversation on their lives and experiences. Using the shared field recordings from Hong Kong and London, each participant has created a soundscape, presented here in a virtual exhibition. Visitors are free to click on the images in order to listen to each soundscape separately, or to walk around the exhibition space to hear an immersive mix of soundscapes close by.

  • HK participants:
    András Blazsek
    Hannah Choi
    Deng Wen Xue
    Gui Ren
    Ryo Ikeshiro
    Longman Luk
    Shek Hoi Yi
    Lina Simon
    Charlotte Hoi Ting Yeung
    Veronica Yiu
  • London participants:
    Mathias Arrignon
    Christine Bramwell
    Dereck De Abreu Coelho
    Matt Parker
    Dean Powell
    Dawn Scarfe
    Tom Tlalim
    Travis Yu
    Allen Zhang

Virtual exhibition by MetaObjects.

Andras Blazsek

Into the Night

Recording was made on Lamma Island (22°14' 08" N 114° 06' 57" E) before sunset on the 21 of April in 2021.

Christine Bramwell

Waking Up

Inspired by morning working and machinery, the gradual growth of clinks as we rise to open up.

This soundscape was created in collaboration with Choi Han Nah in Hong Kong.

Sections of the “Morning” field recording merged with “6AM Tulse Hill” by Christine Bramwell

Dean Powell


Fugacity uses resonant filtering to reveal hidden qualities captured in the field recording of a Hong Kong tramway ride by Lina Simon.

The resonating tones gradually rise to prominence in the mix through 99 rhythmic undulations, accentuating themes such as transiency and metamorphosis.

Dereck De Abreu Coelho

Same But Different

When thinking about the idea for my Sound envelope idea I looked back to our sessions discussing what the common themes were between the field recordings. For me what stood out was the similarities between both places, being Hong Kong & London. When listening back to the participants recordings I felt at times that the recordings contrasted well when combined. I decided to use different recordings from specific areas together to create a narrative. Guiding you through parks, busy streets & markets. Finishing with river and ocean recordings.

Hannah Choi

Beyond the Window

Staying at home more often, the window seems like the doorway to the sounds outside. This soundscape is composed of the recordings from my window throughout a rainy day. The recordings are in chronological order but they are mixed so that the cuts seem less apparent.

Hoi Ting Yeung

The Street Preacher - Parkes & Oxford Street Duet

There’s an urge to sell everything out due to the clearance. (Sometimes it’s just the sales tactics, everyday is the last day.) Pre recorded announcement is played in loop from a variety store located in the Parkes Street at Yau Ma Tei, Kowloon.

“From Japan, from Taiwan, made from Wool, made from…”
“3 dollars! 3 dollars! 3 dollars! 5 dollars!”
“Crew socks, Ankle socks, Stockings, Panties”
“3 dollars! 3 dollars! 3 dollars! 5 dollars!”
“Adults socks, Children socks, School socks, Toe socks”
“3 dollars! 3 dollars! 3 dollars! 5 dollars!”

In parallel to the street preacher of Consumerism, there’s the voice of street preacher of Religious belief from Oxford Street, mixing with the chiming of St. Paul's Cathedral, and the piano canal out of the window captured by Dereck De Abreu Coelho.

* Parkes Street was named after the 19th century UK Diplomat, Sir Harry Smith Parkes, who was the Chinese Translator of the first Governor of Hong Kong, Sir Henry Pottinger.

Shek Hoi Yi

Mid-Autumn Night

This is a random walk at Mid-Autumn festival night, the date having a reunion with family under the full moon.

Location: Nam Shan Estate, Sham Shui Po District, Kowloon
Elderly House -> Playground -> Basketball Court -> Elderly House

Lina Simon


Bamboo, Willow, Water, Wind, AirCon, Plastic

Field Recordings LDN/HK:
Christine Bramwell
Dereck De Abreu Coelho
Longman Luk
Mathias Arrignon
Lina Simon

Longman Luk

The Transits

“The Transits” attempts to create a surrealistic travelling experience among the UK and Hong Kong. The first part “Boarding” elevates the audience from the ground of Walthamstow into a flight to Hong Kong International Airport, while the second part “From market to museum” walks the audience from Wong Nai Chung Market, Hong Kong back to the Great Court of The British Museum, London.

The composer, who used to be a frequent flyer before the pandemic, is fascinated by the sounds in flight cabins and workstations. Materials such as a chime, passenger announcement, opening and closing overhead luggage compartments, cleansing beverage makers, unfastening seatbelts, etc, are mixed into the soundscape of “Boarding”.

“From market to museum” features a convolution reverb design based on a 9-second long sample from “24.9.2021 - British museum - great court.wav” by Dean Powell. The reverb acts as a tunnel and gradually changes the scene and juxtaposition arises in the process where it sounds like the butcher was chopping in the museum.

Field recording in the aircraft by Longman Luk
Date: Afternoon, 23 Sep 2021
Flight no.: CX367 (Shanghai to Hong Kong)
Aircraft type: Airbus 330
Recorded with iPhone 8 plus, on-ground before the engine start

Special thanks to Dean Powell and Veronica Yiu for the permission of using the following
quality field recordings:
22.9.2021 - Walthamstow overhead plane.wav
24.9.2021 - British museum - great court.wav

Mathias Arrignon


Sound composition made by Mathias Arrignon with the generous sharing of field recording from Hong Kong made by Lina Simon

Sillage (French word for wake) let flow this idea that the sounds of our surroundings leave traces in our auralites. I find it interesting to consider the possibility that we are carrying these sonic remnants much longer than the brief moment when we hear their source.

Since I moved to London last year, I can feel how this city is constantly stimulating my listening. I especially realise this when I go back to my hometown near Paris where the palette of sounds is so different, a contrast which is long to process for me because I’m still hosting the echoes from the other side of the Channel.

As a foreigner, I feel very attracted by the sound of the Thames whose current is stronger than the Seine. It is probably the element that I have recorded the most in this city because I find wandering near the river has always brought a great comfort. I think the water has the ability to make our whole body feel light and to free our mind and our thoughts. Making field recordings of these spaces gives me a way to extend the duration of these pleasant waves. As the wake effect, I decided to create a sonic play of waterscapes between a collection of sounds from the river bank and the recording from a swimming pool in South East London. Creating different listening perspectives with the water is a way to depict the intimacy with the Thames River which resonates in me.

Hong Kong is still a blank canvas for my aurality, however I felt a familiar living experience when I listened to the corpus of recordings made by Lina Simon. The rustle of bamboo trees, the birdsong, the run-off from a fountain and a waterfall sounded very close to my ears, as if she bent down or looked up at something new to her. This sense of wonder seemed to me very similar to when I was discovering London through my listening.

Blending my sonic material with Lina’s new sonic marks created an assemblage with a natural ease. This layering of field recordings is setting an hybrid space between London and Hong Kong, two aural sillages/wakes which are flowing together.

I found it very touching to work with her sounds because I have this feeling that they are part of her deep relation between Hong Kong and herself.

Matt Parker

Arsenal 3 - 0 AFC Wimbledon

A walk from my home to the entrance of The Emirates stadium during the build up to the EFL Cup third round tie between Arsenal and AFC Wimbledon on wednesday 22 September. My strategy for this recording is to include everything from start to finish. I talk to myself as I walk, I find field recording a great way to channel my thoughts and I don’t like to erase myself from the recordings. This is my gift, it is not just a recording of a particular space and place in time but a recording of my thoughts in this process of what field recording is and can be for the recordist and sonic investigator.

Gui Ren

Lost in Cities

In the bustling metropolis, we looking for direction again and again, lost again and again.

Listen to the soundscapes around you, they'll help you navigate.

Myself, in the reality of Hong Kong. Another me, in the England of my dreams.

The author recorded the surrounding soundscapes on her way of getting lost in HongKong, and collaged it with the Soundscapes from Britain, trying to construct two lost selves in reality and dreams, telling a story of being lost in different cities.

Ryo Ikeshiro

Western gaze, multi-cultural flashbacks

When I came up with the idea for Sound Envelope of sharing field recordings between Hong Kong and London, I never realised how much it might affect me if I took part myself. I arrived in Hong Kong just over a year ago after spending the majority of my life in the UK. Although I have so many fond memories especially of London, I thought I had moved on. So when I heard the field recordings from the London participants and their stories behind them, I was quite unprepared for the rush of emotions which followed; the sounds reawakened thoughts and sensations which really took me back to the dear city and made me realise how important it still is to me.

The soundscape consists of my field recording from Hong Kong interspersed with recordings from London by Mathias Arrignon and Dereck De Abreu Coelho. The Hong Kong recording is from the former site of the infamous Kowloon Walled City, an object of great fascination for the West. The slum city no longer exists and in its place is the Kowloon Walled City Park used for family walks and picnics, photo shoots and exercising which often involves slapping oneself very loudly – the bane of my life whenever I’ve attempted to make field recordings here. The London recordings are from Peckham Rye Lane and East Street Market and offer a glimpse of its multi-culturalism that I took for granted whilst living there. The recordings fade in and out; sometimes this may be obvious and at other times it may be harder to distinguish the sounds from the two cities. The result is perhaps akin to Hong Kong as seen or heard through the Western gaze with flashbacks of multi-cultural London.

Veronica Yiu

Waves connect

Ocean connects the world. Waves contains stories from different walks of lives and passes it around. Using the sound of waves as base, then intersecting with sound recorded in the Wong Nai Chung Market, Hong Kong and British Museum, UK.

The UK and HK are connected by intersection between the waves and dialogues of people daily routine in different language

Deng Wen Xue


The idea of this piece is to collect the rhythm of the city, and share the ongoing energy. Ocean waves, trains, the road, wheels, there’s always something rolling and roaming in HK. My main focus is not how each location separates or distance from each other, but the emphasis on sound texture and playing with the compactness of different environments.

P.S. I chose these shoes that I wear throughout the recording process as the cover because I like how the sole collects tiny rocks from random places, just like how I collect the sounds.

Dawn Scarfe

Narrowband survey

This short study takes field recordings from transport hubs and parks in Hong Kong and London, and boosts signals between 2-8kHZ: a frequency range used in acoustic monitoring to calculate levels of biophonic activity in environments (Boelman el al, 2007).

As well as bird and squirrel vocalisations, my crude filter emphasises electronic alarm signals, women and children’s voices, flutes, brakes, and miscellaneous squeaks as people, machines and animals move through two cities. I’m interested in the sense of urgency conveyed by many of these varied sounds.

I found that the limited information caught in this narrow range is effective in evoking specific memories of being in the places featured in the piece: the MTR; Kowloon Walled City Park; Cambria Road; Upper Street; the Northern Line. Thanks to the following participants for offering their recordings, which allowed me to revisit these places through their microphones:

Deng Wen Zue
Ryo Ikeshiro
and Allen Zhang