Unsilent Night -- San Francisco, December 22 , 2007

 

 
   
 

 

 

Phil Kline led a 21st century Christmas caroling party -- a walk through the Mission District in San Francisco with a boisterous crowd of people carrying dozens of boom-boxes. Tapes and CDs were distributed, and under direction from the maestro, everyone hit their play button at the same time. Slowly the sound took shape, asserted itself against the backdrop of noisy city streets, and cast its magical spell on everyone within earshot. Kline's Unsilent Night, specifically engineered to be played by multiple sound machines running out of sync, is a masterwork of sound design. Street sounds, voices from the crowd, and dozens of speakers combine to create an beautiful moving envelope of sound.

The Pied Piper of New York led his flock on a walking tour through urban neighborhoods to the cheers (and car horns) of local residents. Each block created its own unique audio space for the evolving ambient soundscape to resonate in.

After about 45 minutes we were led back to our starting point at Mission Delores Park. On cue, the sounds faded away to be replaced by a round of spontaneous applause. A short while later we all wandered off in our separate directions, but there was a distinct sense of community and appreciation to be able to share a unique experience with kindred spirits. Thank you Phil!