The Soundscape of Burning Man

Stephan Moore & Scott Smallwood

These examples were recorded by Stephan Moore and Scott Smallwood at the 2011 Burning Man Event. [scroll down for map]


Inside of ThunderBridge by the Portland-based SOAK*CORE Crue. This installation was part of the Circle Of Regional Effigies (CORE) made up of 22 effigies created by Burning Man Regional Groups around the world. These were situated in a ring around the man with a radius of 600 feet.

2. Walk to Esplanade

11:30 PM on August 30, four days before the burn. Walking from our camp on 2:45 and Anniversary to the esplanade (see route on map).

3. Ireland CORE (binaural)

8:15 PM on September 1, two days before the burn. All of the CORE effigies were burned at this time. This recording captures the sound of the effigy burning, bonfire-style, as well as the celebratory mood of the participants.

4. Doors

2 PM on Friday, Sept. 2, one day before the burn. This recording was made during a mild dust storm, inside the installation "Another Door", by Calen Barca-Hall and Paul Hempstead.

5. Windchorus

2:30 PM on Friday, Sept. 2. Recording of the wind-activated sound and light installation "chorus of the winds", by Thomas Trower.

6. Pre-lotus battle

10:30 PM on Friday, Sept. 2. Large crowd arriving and waiting for the start of the Lotus Girls Fireworks performance. This recording features a firefight between El Pulpo Mechanico, a fire-spewing mechanical octopus created by Duane Flatmo, Steve Gellman, and Jerry Kunkel, and another fire-spewing art car in the distance.

7. Playa center

1:30 AM on Saturday (Friday night), Sept. 3. On the playa and behind the man, between 2:00 and 10:00. This is the halfway-point between the large corner dance clubs Disorient and Opulent Temple, and features foot, bicycle, and art-car traffic between the two. This recording chronicles the passage of an giant, rooster-shaped art car called the Giant Cock Car.

8. Art car swarm (binaural)

11:00 PM, Burn Night. This is a soundwalk amongst the art cars in the hours immediately following the main Burn.

9. Deep Playa (binaural)

11:30 PM, Burn Night. The same walk at a later point, the pinnacle of Black Rock City's nightlife captured from the "deep playa" area beyond the temple.

10. Temple (binaural)

12:30 AM, Burn Night. Starting at the base of the main body of the temple, walking out to the start of one of the ramps that ascend to the upper floor, climbing the ramp, and entering the upper chamber. At the top, one of the participants has brought his own tam-tam and is accompanying the installation with it.

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