Ambient toilet flush

Ambient toilet flush: I was reading a review of Sanctum Bristol where a reporter had spent almost 24 hours there (I was there on the same night for a while). In the review the reporter described a “mix of noises which range from birdsong to toilets flushing”. “It’s just me here at this point. And this is not what I need. Thankfully it’s a short hour (yawn) until the next live act”.

The sound source
The sound source

The performer, Laura Denning was not happy and commented beneath the article with “Thanks! NOT. That a sonic piece I created called Underheard and no toilets flush anywhere within the piece”.

The idea of an artist having to deny that there were not any toilets flushing or not within their piece amused me. I’d also been offered a 2 hour slot in the early hours for an ambient music mix. I decided that I would make my own ambient piece based only on the sound of a toilet flushing. The joke was  only the start, from that point on it was an artistic process.

I recorded the sound of the last drops of a wee and a flushing the toilet at the city academy in Bristol using my mobile phone. Back home at 11pm I imported the sound track into Audacity which is freeware editing software. I took the basic sounds and added progressively more effects such as pitch stretches, speed changes and multiple echoes. The process was very much trial and error as I tried things until I found interesting sounds and then copied and manipulated them. Towards the end I deleted well over half of what I’d created in order to make the track less cluttered.

Audacity
Audacity is a great piece of software.

I was working to a deadline and had the track completed by 4am. I found the creative process very enjoyable and I’m pleased with the final result. I believe that it stands up on its own artistic merit.

I played the track at about 4am on Tuesday morning at Sanctum. A friend of mine was there in the audience and said that the facial expressions were amusing as some people realised what they were listening to.

As featured in The sound of a toilet flushing on Bristol 24/7.