Thunder of Applauses | field recording track (7min51) / aural story | format: stereo + text

“Echo of an arrangement of confined sounds from a French suburb “

Thunder of Applauses is a field recording track and a listening story which directly come from my intimate experience of the first lockdown in France in 2020. Arising from the recording of the second evening of the cheering for Healthcare and essential workers in my neighbourhood, I was deeply moved by this moment charged with human warmth that I wanted to transmit as much as possible this instant which generously lifted my spirit. For me, this recording alone was not enough to unfold all the richness of this experience and that is why I choose to write a text to carry of this sonic feeling from one ear to the other. Writing was the proper way to open up the listening of the otherness by sharing my relationship between the place and myself, my feelings during the Coronavirus pandemic and my aural sensibility.

• Thunder of Applauses won the award of the Disappearing Sound at the Sound of the Year Award 2020 (festival initiated by the Museum of Sound and the New BBC Radiophonic Workshop).
• The recording is also part of the soundscape album Sonidos desde mi Ventana Vol.1, a project led by the GRISPerú (Grupo de Investigación Sonora del Perú).


Text Thunder of Applauses:

The first lockdown has been a challenging time that will continue to question myself about the relationship that one can create between a living space and oneself. During these two long months, I returned to live in my mother’s flat in the Clos de la Garenne residence in Fresnes, in France. She has lived there since 2014, while I left in 2016 at the end of my studies.

Before that I had very little affection for this huge complex of 900 flats. The continuous rumour of the surrounding motorways combined with a residential life that was far too peaceful made the landscape dull and cold for me. However, it was this same space that allowed me to maintain a healthy mental state to face this drastic daily routine of restricted movement, the forced distancing from most of my loved ones and the incessant and anxiety-provoking buzz of the media.

As life and the world seemed to become motionless, on the evening of 18th March at 8pm, I could hear the first applause of a very long series of solidarity demonstration covering this whole period. These clamours were a symbol of gratitude for the medical staff and all the essential workers. It was magnificent, it was swarming with life and energy! I was moved by the richness of the sounds that emanated from all this cheering: shouts, cheers, sets of dishes converted into percussion instruments, vuvuzelas and horns. For the next few days, I placed my sound equipment on the edge of my bedroom window so that I would be ready to capture the next standing ovations.

I never thought that one day, I would record so many suspended moments in the heart of Fresnes, in this familiar space that I had long neglected of any interest.

Although gruelling, the experience of confinement will also leave me with nostalgic memories of that period, when there was enough time to listen to life flowing from thousands of windows and a dozen alleys in a residential neighbourhood.