x # 1 Old North State Press
Old North State Press modal

A traditional letterpressing shop imbueing exquisite detail onto Carolina paperworks.

At the Old North State Press, Master Craftsman Chris Paul designs and creates incredible works of stationary art and ephemera. The shop's workhorse is a 1964 Heidelberg 10x15 "Windmill", restored from the ground up. In addition, there's a Vandercook No.3 cylinder press, 2 Monotype Thompson Sorts Casters, and a second Heidelberg 10x15. The smell of machine oil, cardstock, and genius float about as these incredible machines (and their operator) toil away to make the perfect print. The humming and ticking of the flywheels, gears, pneumatic pistons, and guides are all integral to the cadeance and tonality of the workshops ambiance. With little adjustment needed, these machinces are examples of old world craftmanship meeting industrial mechanization, and they do so gloriously.

Elements of this soundscape include the master printer adjusting his machines, letterpresses, pneumatics, whirring flywheels, and a power attenuator.

x # 2 CAMP North End
CAMP North End modal

The NC bomb factory, a massive 76-acre historic industrial site that produced Model Ts to missiles.

Built in the 1920's and remaining a fully functioning manufacturing and production site for nearly 50 years, CAMP (Charlotte Area Munitions Plant) North End has had a vibrant and varied past. Now, it is being renovated and restored, giving new cadre of North Carolinian creators and builders sprawling space to explore, design, and develop (excuse the metaphor) cultural bombs of their own. Ahead of renovations, the vast empty floor of the Ford building, the intricate pipe-works of the Boiler room, and the overgrown rail yard speak calmly of a heavy industrial past. A mostly quiet soundscape, it pulls the mind to a place of comtemplative compartmentalism that juxtaposes its present with its very different past.

Elements of this soundscape include still open factory floor, industrial fans, creaking pipes, nesting birds, wind in tall grass, dragonflies, and distant urban traffic.

x # 3 Carolina Raptor Center
Carolina Raptor Center modal

Igniting imaginations and inspiring engagement with the natural world through the exploration and rehabilitation of birds of prey.

Tucked away in a calm and alluring forest just off of Lake Norman, you can hear the calls and chatter of some of the most spectacular avian creatures in existence today. From sunrise to deep into the night, this raptor haven sings a dancing melody of vibrant leads supported by a swarming murmur of song birds and chirring insects. It is almost meditative to walk the grounds of the Raptor Center in the presence of such elegant, yet powerful birds. At times you can home in on a particular feathered friend as if you were eavesdropping on one of their personal conversations. While at other times you simply need to tilt your head back and just take in the entire party's conversation. Have a seat under a canopy of dogwoods, elms, and southern pines and listen to both wild and rehabilitating, discovering all that they choose to share.

Elements of this soundscape include a sprawling forest, common tree birds, all manners of insects, the very distant hum of civilization, and wide array of magnifiscent raptors.

x # 4 Carolina BalloonFest
Carolina BalloonFest modal

Floating delicately in the vast blue, a colorful array of balloons cast playful shadows on festival goers below.

On a sloping hillside next to the Statesville Regional Airport thousands of onlookers and avid balloonists gather to observe and, if lucky, ride in the incredibly elegant vehicles of lift that are hot air balloons. The crowd ebbs and flows while powerful bursts from the burner roar to life, fluently filling the envelope (balloon) with hot air, raising gondola and human alike, from the ground. Nestled within the ranks, the balloons fill up and come to life. Gas-powered fans, burners, flowing fabric, joyful chatter, and eager riders circle all around. It is another example of a long-held social activity maintained over the centuries by a dedicated group of folks all across the planet who rally behind the shared joy of taking flight. An extra special thanks to the incredible kindness of Mr. Mark Fritze for taking us up in his 'Freedom Flyer' and teaching all about the awesomeness that is ballooning!

Elements of this soundscape include balloon flight preparation, burners, fans, generators, low-altitude flight, ground crews, patrons, and festival announcers.

x # 5 Apple Picking at Sky Top Orchards
Apple Picking at Sky Top Orchards modal

In the cool mountain air of Autumn, amidst serpentine rows of fruit trees, windy boughs bend and apples fall.

At ridge line's crest, the Sky Top Orchard blankets the landscape with a cornicopia of apples. The smell of fruit and fermentation is ripe in the air while a storm calmly threatens in the distance. Picking apples in an orchard is a tremendously rooting experience, but doing so during a light rain, is rejuvenating. Under closely grown trees, limbs shake, leaves scatter, and dense apples fall as the wind swirls gently. Though sounds of civilization echo up the mountain side, the magnitude of the locale allows the mind to wander. It is an activity that spans millenia of the human experience and no matter how technologically advanced we may become, it still brings a sense of joy and completeness, plucking fruit from tree to acquire sustenance for oneself and others. In the Autumn, when the apples are ripe for picking, the air is cooler, and the leaves are chaning their colors, it is no wonder how such a base practice of our society has become such an enjoyable pasttime to get lost in each year.

Elements of this soundscape include rustling trees, dropping apples, a light passing storm with wind and rain, a tractor, patrons, and respite under a makeshift orchard shelter.

x # 6 North Carolina State Fair
North Carolina State Fair modal

Truly a sound to behold, the bellowing and breathing of the fair is an interwoven tapestry of NC's sonic identity.

From popping kettle corn to candy apples, game prize bells to huge whirring machinery, pacing farm animals to agricultural demonstrations, the NC State Fair attracts absolute legions of people from all across the state. Touting a waterfall of sites and events, sights, smells, and a neutron of sounds, there is seemingly endless activity and events to observe within the veritable sea of people. Food is prepared, competitions are held, shouts of joy and excitement abound, and those classic fair jingles drift through the streets and by-ways. The constant surge and sway of the patrons is dizzying at times, but in a way that actually compliments the festivities rather well. There are always multiple activities or events happening around you as you walk and you can't possible see and do it all in a single visit. This enveloping of activity is something unique and wonderful about the Fair. By all measures, and during all of the sensory intensity that comprises the State Fair, it is a thoroughly relaxing and carefree celebration of all things NC.

Elements of this soundscape include throngs of fair-goers, the bleeps and bloops of games and stalls, hawkers, rides, agricultural shows, craftwork, and plenty of food being prepared.

x # 7 Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden
Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden modal

Across the seasons, ever-changing foliage and fauna remind us of the cyclical caedence of life and how though a year passes slowly, the environment revolves in mutual continuity.

Nestled just north of Lake Wylie, the cultivated and beautifully landscaped Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden is like a salve for the soul. Serene yet complex, the diverse gardens present a treasure trove of flora, giving visitors seasonal and colorful tours within the verdure. Grassy fields and hardwood tree lines encompass the property showing the beauty of the wild and its role in the entire garden experience. Water fountains run throughout the grounds as a tip-of-the-hat to this vital life-giving element, playfully wild in its own right. Captivating and transformative, the grounds of this woven landscape provide patrons with the highest reason for pause and facilitate a perpetual stream of moments where one can truly absorb the natural world. There isn't a moment when walking throughout the garden that you feel out-of-place or somehow intrusive to the environment around you. Instead, you feel as if you are a welcomed guest, in a special nook of the outdoors where wonder and exploration are not only encouraged, they are required. No matter the season, the sounds of the garden tell a never-ending story of life and change and if you have a moment to find a bench and sit for a spell, the narrative will effortlessly unfurl before you.

Elements of this soundscape include a four-season perspective from inside the garden, with fountains, birds, insects, and light breezes through the plant life.

x # 8 Carolina Renaissance Festival
Carolina Renaissance Festival modal

A woodland celebration of show, food, costume, and imagination, with 'Huzzah!'s heard for miles around.

Each year over 200,000 patrons make a journey for what many fondly refer to as 'Ren Fest'. Weaving through field and forest, the Festival bids all to feast, shop, play, and be entranced by an incredible array of performing artists. The attire of performers and visitors alike are an ecclectic mix of historical and pop-cultural, composed of a myriad of fabrics and fallalery. Opening and closing to bombastic canon fire, guests are wooed by accented hawkers, musical instruments, clanking armour, cheerful jeers, and of course, all of the 'Huzzah!'s necessary to meet your annual quota. The balance between woodland party, costumed gala, medieval carnival, theatrical performace, folk music concert, and artisan bazaar is staggering in all of the best ways. As you stroll through the open air wonderland, you will be enveloped in a sea of incredible sounds that will continuously draw your attention to something curiously intriguing. Constantly entertaining, the Fest is a thorough mix of wonder, joyfulness, playful humor, quirkiness, and the purest sense of 'fun' you can imagine. From the time you enter the musical gates to the time you depart with a rousing (but always playful) heckle, all vistors are given a chance to enjoy their day as an exceptional guest at a very unique celebration.

Elements of this soundscape include performers, musicians, shopkeepers, games, a blacksmith, a royal joust, and some very happy patrons.

x # 9 Crowders Mountain State Park
Crowders Mountain State Park modal

A steep climb to a soaring vista, stone, tree, squirrel, and hawk all compose a ridgeline chorus that welcomes and invigorates all.

There is no single path to the top of this mountain. Choose one, and win expanding views of the Carolina Piedmont as you climb. Every mountain in NC has different signature sound as you walk the summit. The differing altitudes, plants, and animals create a custom blend of sonic elements that, once acquainted, would allow the initiated to identify which mountain they are on simply by closing their eyes and taking in the ambiance. The air is clear and wind is clean, alluring all manners of hikers and naturalists. Hawks, condors, and ravens fly and perch as they wish. Hundreds of species of bushes, flowers, grasses, and trees cover the variegated rocks and hiking paths. At peak, it is a mix of serene nature and distant human endeavor from the towns below. 24 miles away, a stoic Charlotte skyline sits stark, tiny, and silent. As one climbs in altitude, noise tends to fall away, so even though tiny cars can be seen traveling on tiny roads, they leave faint remnants of their travels in the air. The delay and subtlness of society below, mixed with the fervent activity of nature immediately around you, makes mountain soundscapes unique unto themselves.

Elements of this soundscape include a mountain-side wind, scattering leaves, rustling branches, distant hikers, distant vehicles, birds, insects, and an airy expanse.

x # 10 Charlotte-Douglas Int'l Airport
Charlotte-Douglas International Airport modal

The straight expanse of field and tarmac is endlessly lapped by the thunderous roar of jet engines as they begin and end their journeys.

Nestled between two gigantic runways is a rare, small visitor's outlook where the curious can go to be sonically (and visually) awed by the effort of modern aviation. The piercing whistle and utterly colossal roar of jet turbines rocks vehicles, let alone anyone who steps outside for a better view. The utter precision of the airport joined with the enormous power of the planes that traverse it, is truly enigmatic. For most of us, interactions with airplanes are limited to the passenger perspective where we go from parking, to terminal, to gate, to plane and then once again in reverse. But sitting on the sidelines of two runways and hearing (and feeling) the full effect of those planes coming and going is illuminating to the fact that those planes are incredibly powerful and complex machines and have a lot more to them than the cozy cabins we all know and love. The energy is so great in fact, that even at the distace from where we were recording, our microphones and limiters needed extra care and attention to make sure they didn't get blown out during peak audio moments (takeoff, and immedaitely after landing). Night or day, chests rumble and hairs stand on end as plane after plane escapes from and soars into a deep Carolina sky.

Elements of this soundscape include night transitioning into day with a heavy breeze, a wide range of jets departing and arriving, fidgeting on-lookers, stirring grass, and the pulsing hum of distant airport terminals.

x # 11 Town Creek Indian Mound
Town Creek Indian Mound modal

Situated in the serene rural hillsides of NC, a prehistoric archeological site echoes with powerful indigenous cultural roots.

The Town Creek Indian Mound is nestled in the rolling hillsides at the southern base of Uwharrie National Forest. It was built on a flat run of land highlighted by a large earthwork mound aside one of the many elbows in the Little River. Entering the historically-rebuilt grounds you'll cross a sprawling lawn and multiple reconstructed Pee Dee buildings surrounded first by a towering perimeter of hewn timbers, and then again by a circular wood line of even taller long leaf pines. Birds share the wind in the trees while frogs croak and insects chirr and trill along the nearby bank of the River. As you listen the soundscape will transition between the open field in the middle of the site to the interior of one of the smaller thatched roof structures. Aside from the natural ambiance, the area is quiet and transcendental. The air sits lightly in the enourmous open field and everything feels a little bit further away than it actually is. Without any major roads or airports nearby, the noise of humanmade transportation is nigh non-existent and only adds to the transformative elements of a historical soundscape. Amidst the gusty breeze that strafes the grass, one reflects on the lives of the people who originally settled here over 1,000 years ago.

Elements of this soundscape include high wind through an enclave of pines and deciduous, birds, insects, a nearby creek, some interesting frogs and toads, and the whistling of wind through an open thatched roof.

x # 12 Weymouth Woods Sandhills Nature Preserve
Weymouth Woods Sandhills Nature Preserve modal

Sandy woodland paths wind through towering, slender longleaf pines host a unique mix of forest flora and fauna.

Sitting just a stone's throw west of Fort Bragg, one of the largest military installations in the world, is a low rolling pine canopied and sand grass covered forest with a spaghetti-like weave of walking and hiking paths. Both on and off those paths, you'll find a constant sea of pines needles, old and new, fallen from the countless longleaf pines that make up the majority of the forest. Tiny bogs, streams, rocky outcroppings, and birds and amphibians of all types flush the nature preserve with vibrant life, and with it, sound. In an almost (almost) complimentary manner, the natural sounds of the forest are layered with the distant echoes and resonances of the nearby military base. Where one might think it would directly contradict the ambiance of a woodland hike, the low rumbles, swoons, and occasional roars feed the magnificence of the terrain. If there was going to be a soak in nature positively interrupted by the occasional air travel, this would be the place. Not to mention the incredibly fragrant aromas of pine needles in the sunshine swirling about.

Elements of this soundscape include a gentle bog rivulet, light winds through a forest of tall southern pines, squirrels, birds, tufts of grass, and the distant hum of a nearby active military base.

x # 13 Boone's Cave
Boone's Cave modal

A historic refuge and hideaway naturally rendered from the mossy rockface sitting quietly a river's edge.

Tucked in at the bottom of a rock face just at the edge of the Yadkin River, is a small rock shelter/solution cave that has been the topic of historical legend and folk stories for over 250 years. Daniel Boone and his family were known to have settled in the area in the mid-to-late 1700's and around that historical fact, the legends were woven. It was a hideout, it was a home, it was a retreat, it was a hunting perch...though many of those previously held thoughts have been doubted by historians and anthropologists. What the cave is, what it truly is, is an enclave in nature that is at the slow mercy of the earthen weight above it and the water that trickles down through it. It is the full ambiance of a much larger cave environment, in a condensed, nearly intimate . The sounds of the river hover toward the front as the mouth of the cave focuses their sound waves into the space and wraps them around you. It is a quiet, subtle, solemn soundscape, but toward the end of the recording the scene shifts from inside the cave to along the riverbank, as the rest of the forest expands gently into its fuller form.

Elements of this soundscape include the ambiance from within and emerging out of the cave, dripping water, a rushing river, a very light breeze, some very vocal birds, and the occassional rustling of leaves.

x # 14 Whitewater Falls
Whitewater Falls modal

Tearing across the Foothills Trail on the NC/SC border, mist-strewn rocky hillsides are abundant with life thanks to cascades of falling water.

Near the southwestern boarder of North Carolina is the Toxaway River. Near the end of the Toxaway is the first enormous waterfall in a series of small waterfalls and cascades, Whitewater Falls. By the time the rapids placate and the waters calm, you're in South Carolina. All along the rising ridges of those cascades are flora that are hyper verdant due to the constant mists and trickling streams that float up and pour down the rock faces and trails downstream from Whitewater Falls. The air is filled with just as much moisture and humidity as it is the roar, near and far of the endless, tumultuous rushing water. Here you will find three perspectives on the waterfall: straddling one of the rock-face streams about halfway up the ridge from the main waterfall, down in the middle of the cascades atop a massive midstream boulder, and from a perched lookout directly facing the primary fall, about 200 yards out. Transitioning between all three paints a comprehensive sonic picture of the area and hence the vibrant nature, and meditative roaring white noise that is a quintessential example of water, and power.

Elements of this soundscape include a steady mountain stream up close, standing on an island boulder amidst a roaring river, and a monstrous crashing waterfall, smattered with the occassional bird song and swaying forest foliage.

x # 15 Moore Cove Falls
Moore Cove Falls modal

At the end of a trail through a riverside ravine in Pisgah National Forest, is the adventurer's reward in sound, sight, and possibly a quick shower.

With a fairly unique geographic footprint for the state, Moore Cove Falls entices all visitors to get up close and personal with the natural falling concourse of this deep forest mountain waterfall. Behind the falls is a carved out cove that reverberates the bright, harsh splashes and crashes of the falling water. Behind the falls in in the stream in front of it renders two aural positions to really appreciate the intensity and brilliance of the high frequency storm of splattering water that dominates the area all around the falls. While other waterfalls roar and growl as they flow, this particular one is like giant shower head turned up to 11. It refreshes and rewards any hiker that makes it to the end of their trail, and without fail, puts smile on their faces as they hear it beckoning to them when they get within range. North Carolina has a great number of waterfalls through the state, but this one in particular is hyper focused, buried in the forest, on the edge of rising ravines, and could very well be considered the most intimate of them all.

Elements of this soundscape include the intense rush and splatter of an enclave waterfall across smooth stone, a river head just beyond the falling water, some light bird songs, and falling forest foliage.

x # 16 Stone Mountain Cicadas
Stone Mountain Cicadas modal

In the rolling northern piedmont, its massive gentle slope stands out against the surrounding green and makes for a unique mountain ambiance ... plus a distant cicada swarm.

Deep on the lower ridge of Stone Mountain, along the Wolf Rock hiking trail, there is a northern facing bend that catches sound from the rest of the mountain and forest range up to the Virginia boarder. At the time of the recording, all around that area was a growing swarm of cicadas (Brood IX to be exact) that though they were dozens of miles away, the sound of their chirring swells would creep up the mountain. Combined with the other insects, fauna, birds, and wind in the full towering trees this was just as much of an event as it was a location-specific soundscape. Stone Mountain's smooth granite face reflects sound more effectively than most other craggy mountains, which scatter/diffuse/absorb sound. This makes for an overall more quiet experience for hikers on the inner mountain trails as less sound is scattered around them in the deeper woods of the mountain. It was on these trails, where we posted up to listen, and were duly rewarded.

Elements of this soundscape include wind rushing through high deciduous foliage, woodpeckers and squirrles chattering in the treetops, the occassional drops and ticks of falling forest fodder, and the swell and fade of the distant brood swarm of hundreds of thousands of cicadas.

x # 17 US National Whitewater Center
US National Whitewater Center modal

Outdoor-enthusiasts abound, a constant jovial and adventurous attitude surges throughout the bike trails, zip lines, climbing walls, and of course, kayaks, rafts, and river bugs ride the roaring rapids.

Along the great Catawba River (of the People of the River) is a monolith in the outdoor activity and adventure arena of the US. The USNWC is not only the leading training center in the US for competing whitewater kayaking and rafting teams, but it is also a sprawling hub of outdoor activities for anyone with a desire to get out, stay out, and be active. The Center endeavors to expand land and natural resource protections on and around its property and is constantly working to create a haven for energetic, adventurous, safe, and educational programs for all of its patrons. Without question, there is a pulsing natural energy to the space. The constant rolling and sloshing of the serpent-like rapids course is audible from nearly anywhere on the property. The whirring and checking of bike gears, the trilling drone of the zip-line system, the pitter-patter of shoes on gravel, the clinking and panting of dogs trolling along with their families, and of course the diffused echoes of laughter and joyful cheers cannot be avoided in such a living, breathing place. And as busy as it becomes with the steady flow of visitors, there is always a sense of openness a natural coaxing to roam throughout the grounds. Even on its most crowded day, it never quite feels crowded, rather a sense of motivation and daring, pervades.

Elements of this soundscape include churning, tumbling water rapids, plunging climbers into a pool, zipliners, cheers and shouts of patrons, dogs, and the distant hum of the central water generators.

x # 18 Reed Gold Mine
Reed Gold Mine modal

Deep in the Midland woodland along the Little Meadow River, sits a historic forest mine that supplied the area with successive gold discoveries for over 100 years.

The cool damp air of the mine envelopes before you even step foot inside the subterranean tunnel. The humidity of the summer woods vanishes as you proceed into the mine and the muskiness of the wet stone, gravel, and age-old timbers clearly strikes the mind in such a way that one knows one is in a very different, very special place. After only a minute or two of walking, the shift in the soundscape is unavoidable. The mine tunnels, though long and dark, are all but silent when you stop to take a listen. When you decide to continue walking, the tiniest details of feet rumbling over gravel become apparent. As you reach the deepest area of the mine, there is a shaft known as the Morgan Shaft that rises a straight vertical 50 ft. to the forest floor above. There, you can hear the muddled noises of nature above while you sit amidst the dripping precipitates that form above your head and soak in to the earth below. Outside of the mine, a few hundred yards through the woods there is a large wooden and steel-roofed building. Occupying the majority of that building is a historically-accurate reconstructed stamping mill. As the stamping mill gears up and begins normal operation, it absolutely fills the entire sonic space of the structure. Rushing water, crushing stone, hydraulic pistons, and an enormous leather belt all culminate in a symphony of turn-of-the-century heavy machinery.

Elements of this soundscape include the still air filling the mine, trickling drips of water permeating the rock and support beams, sounds of the forest above echoing lightly through an open shaft, and the water-powered antique mechinations of a barn-sized reconstructed stamping mill.

Reed Gold Mine | Cameron Clark

x # 19 J. Douglas Galyon Depot
J Douglas Galyon Depot modal

Smack dab in the middle of the city of Greensboro sits a historic train station which has been a key stop in the North Carolina transportation circuits for nearly 100 years.

Once through the wood and brass double entryway doors, the waiting lobby of the train (and bus) station flourishes before your very ears. What may appear to be a small downtown public transportation hub from the outside, inside the matter is entirely different as the marble floors, concrete walls, stucco decorated archways and ceilings, heavy oak accents, and large bowl-shaped lighting make the whole space feel as if it grew in magnitudes in the few moments you entered the building. It is richly reverberant, carrying even the smallest of transients from one end of the massive room to another. Passengers arrive to gather their tickets, check the time, and take a seat in the large wooden back-to-back lobby benches. Even during times of lighter activity and lessened travel, the lobby still breathes with the hum of generators and the muffled, almost peaceful arrival of busses and trains outside. Up on the platform, the railyard carries in the sounds of the active urban surroundings, but also serene, quieted by the elevation and the open platforms that stretch out in both directions as far as one can see. The peacefullness is quickly washed away however as the arriving train approaches. The whistles and roars of the massive locomotive and its trailing cars completely envelope the soundscape and only relent to the slightest degree as the train comes to a stop, idles, and passengers eagerly come aboard.

Elements of this soundscape include boomy echoes in the high-domed waiting lobby, light footsteps, activity, and chatter of patrons, cycling generator of the cooling system, the open air on the train platform, and the whistles and locomotion of an approaching and arriving train.

x # 20 Uwharrie National Forest
Uwharrie National Forest modal

In the south central piedmont sits one of the 4 massive national forests of the state, one which is overflowing with endless hiking paths to allow anyone and everyone to get comfrotably lost in the wilds.

The central-most mountain and national forest in the state, Uwharrie is a sprawling protected wildlife area covering over 50,000 acres across 3 different counties, making it quite difficult to define the entire area with a single qualifier or phrase. One of four national forests in the state, it hosts a plethora of fauna and flora to hike, bike, horseback ride, and stroll through year around. Each trip tends to be different, not knowing what you'll see, hear, and encounter throughout the forest. There are very few places left on the planet to find absolute quietude save for the sounds of the natural world. Uwharrie is not particularly one of those locales, but it comes very close due to the undulating topography and distance from active roadways and developments. Forest therapy, in a nutshell. Within the forest is a historic covered bridge that has recently celebrated its centennial birthday. It has a fantastic tonal resonance from the the occasional car passing on the nearby roadway and the stream that runs beneath it. Mostly wood, with a splash of iron resting on a concrete foundation, this bridge may stand out in the scenery of a national forest, but it adds to the character and sonic depth of the Uwharrie soundscape.

Elements of this soundscape include distant passerines and raptors throughout the forest, high breezes blowing through the treetops, the sparse buzz and tick of insects, and the occassional falling of acorns, leaves, or twigs onto the forest floor.

x # 21 Black & White Coffee Roasters
Black & White Coffee Roasters modal

Great coffee is the product of masterful farmers and dedicated roasters, but incredible coffee is a made by relationships, exceptional focus, and creativity.

In a volumous industrial space sits a dedicated and driven coffee roasting operation that produces some of the most exquisite in North Carolina. Each member of the team keeps the metaphoric and literal machines running through all of the necessary and various processing stages that take raw beans all the way to perfectly packaged pouches of captivating caffeinated gems. The roasters are the heart of the operation as they are loaded and unloaded cyclically with fresh beans. The beans are checked periodically as the sample spoon is drawn and reloaded with a loud metallic slap. The bean release lever is pulled and a cascade of freshly roasted beans are funneled into a collection bucket to be moved onto their next phase. Sorters then work their magic loading roasted beans and processing them into their respective groups. Loading machines then take the beans and allow for them to be packaged, bag by bag, ready for the consumers. All of this, and the various other steps in the process, are all carried on and controlled by an expert team. This soundscape is a constant, churning mixture of human and machine in fluid operational harmony.

Elements of this soundscape include the churning and whirring of roasters, sorters, and vacuum air systems, the dumping and gathering of buckets of beans, the filling and sealing of coffee pouches, and the energetic chatter and banter of the B&W Coffee Team.

x # 22 Old Mill of Guilford
Old Mill of Guilford modal

Nestled just outside of Greensboro is one of the most storied and preserved structures in the state, and it continues to grind grains, each and everyday, in a legacy of endlessly provisioning the community.

For all intents and purposes, there has always been fresh flour in Oak Ridge, NC. There and throughout the state, grits, flours, meals, mixes and all manners of ground grains have been provided by the Old Mill of Guildford clear back to a time when it was simply known as the Mill of Guilford. For over 240 years the structure has stood and operated in one capacity or another, continuing the legacy of stone ground grainworks for the region. The creaks, groans, hums, whirrs, and buzzes of the traditional wood and iron machinations is a sound to behold as it permeates the entire building when production is in full swing. The waterwheel turns, the grinder grinds, the sifter vibrates, and all of the interconnecting chutes pull and push grains in one form or the other throughout the system to keep it all steadily moving along. An expert team of volunteer millers are led by Annie Laura Purdue and Amy Klug as they manage the entire operation and keep both the equipment and product in peak condition. The hallmark of their work is in every bit of cereal and flour that comes out of the mill.

Elements of this soundscape include a grinder in the attic, granules channeling down a grain chute, a vigorous ocssilating sifter, a powerful but slowly turning stone grinding wheel, and an enormous ever-creaky waterwheel powered by the slow rush of a piped water trough.

x # 23 Sylvan Heights Bird Park
Sylvan Heights Bird Park modal

In the North-central-eastern region of the state the stands a monolith in the avian sactuary arena, perched in the calm countryside where over 2000 birds thrive in a glorious and cacophonous symphony of songs and brilliant feathers.

Joyful exuberance enveloped in awe and wonder. This would be an accurate description of the emotions and sensations experienced by any lover of the natural world when traversing the Sylvan Heights Bird Park. It is a secluded landscape of aviaries interwoven by winding paths, towering trees, and flowing rivulets. But the very first thing you notice, even before you can park your vehicle, is the sound. The closer you get the more glorious it becomes. Bird calls and songs that you have likely only ever heard in a documentary are reflecting through the trees and across the ground. So many in fact that at first you'll have a difficult time telling them apart. But as you move throughout the park you begin to match beaks with voices and before you know it your list of feathered friends has grown exponentially. Bird vocalizations (calls and songs) are among the most complex and diverse sounds in the animal kingdom. They are the ever-heralders, signaling to the world when it is time to get started, when it is time to wind down, when the weather is changing, when other animals are nearby, and even when the environment needs some extra attention. In North Carolina, you can't possibly find a deeper soundstage in which to partake in avian storytelling.

Elements of this soundscape include the squawks, caws, chirps, croaks, trills, hoots, cries, and tweets of birds from all of the planet, flaps and swooshes of dynamic wings, and the rise and fall of communal calling that ripples through the park.

x # 24 Blowing Rock Charity Horse Show
Blowing Rock Charity Horse Show modal

In the misty altitudes of Blowing Rock a community gathers to celebrate the equestrian arts, friendly competition, and the legacy of a NC tradition.

An event for equestrian enthusiasts throughout the state and beyond, the Blowing Rock Charity Horse Show is in a class unto itself. The feeling on the ground is light, welcoming, joyful, and full of support for the horses and their riders (of all ages) as they compete in a variety of traditional athletic and show events. The air is crisp and vibrant even in the late of Summer, which only adds to the impact of the delicate clopping, leaping, and landing of the competitors as they traverse any of the three open-air arenas throughout the sprawling complex. Different from a roaring major league grandstand crowd, the audience is patient and observant, clapping and cheering at the appropriate moments in order to not distract or startle the riders or their mounts. This makes it all the more intense and adds suspense to each jump that is attempted as all eyes are on the riders and most all breaths are held. It creates a very serene experience of daring feats of athleticism being performed in a naturally quiet ambiance. SEveral events and practices are generally happening together so the voices and calls of announcers throughout the site are often the only prominent declarations that break the hushed grandstands. With each passby, the power and grace of the horses is immediately drawn to the listeners attention. Their hooves are deft, their breath gutteral, and their gallop and canter professionally rhythmic. It is a site to behold and a truly intriguing experience to hear in isolation. Even though the crowd is doing their best to keep quiet, each time the rider pats their horse on the neck and encourages their determined efforts, a little part of your wants to instinctly shout congraulatory words alongside them. They word 'majesty' undoubtedly comes to mind, but the entire affair is also incredibly organic and grounded in a way that coincides with the fluidty and cadence of these incredible duos.

Elements of this soundscape include horse and rider passbys, horse snorts and nickers, jumps, fence knocks, a fall, announcers, signaling tones, spots of ground transportation, light crowd applause and banter, and a steady breeze with occassional rain.

x # 25 NC Granite Quarry
NC Granite Quarry modal

Roaring and smashing, churning and grinding, digging and hauling, the powerhouse that is granite retrieval creates a deep reverberant swell of industrial perfection.

Up on the edge of Mt. Airy, stowed away in the fabled land of Andy Griffth, is the world's largest open-air granite quarry. You'd not be remiss to miss it either, since in this part of the state it is much more common to look upwards for interesting sites. But in this case, you would need to be scanning the ground and backroads of the area in order to stumble across such a state superlative without knowing it was there. 'Absolutely massive', does not do this site justice as it is 60 arces large on the surface and covers a granite mother rock that is 7 miles long, 1 mile wide, and 8000 feet deep. While the sounds around the grounds are volumous and bombastic (especially if you catch a random blasting event!), the entire area hums with the workings of the quarry. It is industrial processing at its finest and so long as the quarry is open, its roar is unmistakable. However, due to the natural contour of the site, the acoustics help to shield the nearby neighborhoods from the noise and create an opening up of the soundscape as you approach the immediate location. It comes to life in a powerful way that, when paired with the sheer visual vastness of the site, instills a manmade sense of awe any visitor. From the observation lot, you can sit and watch the whole behemoth work and if you are lucky, catch one of those rare moments when the quarry staff need to use somethign a bit more effective than a chisel or drill.

Elements of this soundscape include large scale rock crushers, drills, chisels, saws, bulldozers, cranes, and grinding apparatus, all woven along paths and byways nestled throughout a deep granite cistern.

x # 26 Pilot Mountain
Pilot Mountain modal

Along the curve of the pinnacle mountain trail, hawks circle, cicadas fade in and out, and the quiet mountain air hangs just above the sweeping forests and hillsides below.

Rising up out of the northern Piedmont is a topographical icon of the state, protruding like a giant stone burrow out of the edge of the Appalacian mountain. The knob, as it is referred to, is composed of quartzite monadock and is home to an abundance of Blue Ridge flora and fauna including the Catawba rhododendron, mountain laural, the Carolina wren, and the pileated woodpecker. The gradually sloping landscape of the surrounding hillsides makes for an organic channel of sound to flow up and down. However, nearby human civilization seems further away that it is since you are able to fairly easily see but it only remains a blip on the auditory radar. As is common, light breezes circle the pinnacle, making it joyful to hike in the Summer months and adding the rustling of the chestnut oaks and mountain pines to the natural ambiance. Songbirds are commonly heard, as well as the flights to and from the top fo the knob, which is protected, by colonies of ravens and hawks. It is a calm and quiet place. When the hikers are sparse and one can have a moment alone on the rotunda's path, there is an added level of solace and an opportunity for reflection. One of the quieter soundscapes in this collection, it stands apart as an example of a place in the state which still has occassional moments of pure, unaffected by humans, natural aura. For that experience alone, it is without question worth the trek to possibly stumble into such a special ambience.

Elements of this soundscape include insect chirring, occassional cicadas, a light breeze, and moments of bird twitters and squaks against a backdrop of distant humans mulling about in the valley below.

x # 27 NC Granite Quarry
Granite Falls Brewing Company modal

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x # 28 NC Granite Quarry
Granite Falls Brewing Company modal

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x # 29 NC Granite Quarry
Granite Falls Brewing Company modal

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x # 30 NC Granite Quarry
Granite Falls Brewing Company modal

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100 North Carolina Soundscapes logo

A compendium of ambisonic recordings from across the state


Every location on our planet has a unique sonic signature. The portion of Earth that makes up North Carolina, USA is no different, with a diverse and varied landscape of geographic and biological features, cultural identity, industrial heritage, and social engagement.

A state-wide project that aims to capture, design, and present these rich elements of the North Carolina aural environment, The 100 Soundscapes of North Carolina is a collaborative effort between Eiravaein Works and individuals, small businesses, government departments, and cultural groups working together to create immersive listening experiences of one hundred of NC's most iconic soundscapes. From fields to factories, festivals to fauna, or fanfare to the serene natural locales, we're building a comprehensive audio image of the Old North State, nestled boldly in the central Eastern coast of the United States.

Each of the 100 soundscape recordings will be an immersive 5-15 minute loopable ambisonic (3D) and optional stereo (2D) audio file. They are presented here as a binaural recording (stereo), allowing you to listen to them through headphones and feel enveloped in a designed ambient cloud of sound. This is an ongoing list of the project's recordings while it is still under production. Once completed, the entire final recordings of all 100 soundscapes will be released in a comprehensive collective format in tandem with public listening events across the state.

Read the project's Creative Brief.

Check back often for updates and stay tuned!


  Select a soundscape  
(headphones suggested)

#1

Old North
State Press


Letterpresssing
Waxhaw

#2

CAMP
North End


Historic Factory
Charlotte

#3

Carolina
Raptor Center


Bird Conservatory
Huntersville

#4

Carolina
BalloonFest


Hot Air Balloons
Statesville

#5

Sky Top
Orchards


Apple Picking
Flat Rock

#7

Daniel Stowe
Botanical Garden


Public Garden
Belmont

#8

Carolina
Renaissance Festival


Festival
Huntersville

#9

Crowders Mountain
State Park


Mountain
Kings Mountain

#11

Town Creek
Indian Mound


Pre-historic Site
Mount Gilead

#12

Weymouth Woods
Sandhills N.P.


Nature Preserve
Southern Pines

#13

Boone's
Cave


Cave
Lexington

#14

Whitewater
Falls


Waterfalls
Cashiers

#15

Moore Cove
Falls


Waterfalls
Brevard

#16

Stone Mountain
Cicadas


Mountain
Cherry Lane

#17

US National
Whitewater
Center


Recreation
Catawba River

#18

Reed
Gold Mine


Mine
Midland

#19

J Douglas
Galyon Depot


Train Station
Greensboro

#21

Black & White
Coffee Roasters


Coffee Production
Rolesville

#22

Old Mill
of Guilford


Grist Mill
Oak Ridge

#23

Sylvan Heights
Bird Park


Bird Sanctuary
Scotland Neck

#24

Blowing Rock
Charity Horse Show


Equestrian Event
Blowing Rock

#25

NC Granite
Quarry


Rock Quarry
Mt. Airy

#26

Pilot
Mountain


Mountain
Pinnacle

#27


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#28


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#29


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#30


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#31


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#32


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#33


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#34


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#35


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#36


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#37


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#38


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#39


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#40


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#41


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#42


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#43


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#44


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#45


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#46


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#47


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#48


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#49


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#50


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#51


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#52


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#53


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#54


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#55


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#56


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#57


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#58


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#59


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#60


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#61


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#62


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#63


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#64


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#65


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#66


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#67


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#68


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#69


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#70


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#71


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#72


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#73


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#74


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#75


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#76


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#77


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#78


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#79


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#80


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#81


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#82


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#83


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#84


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#85


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#86


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#87


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#88


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#89


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#90


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#91


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#92


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#93


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#94


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#95


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#96


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#97


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#98


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#99


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#100


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