Silence of Sirens
Silence of Sirens

Silence of Sirens

It’s 04:00, February 24, 2022. Deep in a soggy night we were woken up by the sound of shelling followed by a howling siren. Since then millions of Ukrainians are living in a new dimension. No matter how far from the frontline, this sound is haunting us. It’s the sound of air raid alerts. It’s omnipresent. Stuck inside everyone’s head. It’s the new silence. Silence of Sirens.

The Silence of Sirens compilation is made of air raid alarms field-recordings. Turn the sound on and browse an interactive map of Ukraine. You’ll immerse into current dreadful soundscape caused by russian missiles and kamikaze drones. Click on any region and mute that frightening sound for a donation at our Bandcamp page.

The initial days of the full-scale russian war of aggression in Ukraine, bursting with panic, anxiety and unheard-of bravery was also the moment when local emergency services found themselves in an uncanny situation. The drastic invasion was accompanied by a massive missile attacks all around the country. Firstly, it wasn’t clear exactly how to signal the incoming air raid. Should the onset and the end be marked with short alarm calls? Or should it be one stretched-out wailing siren that goes on until the danger has passed?

One sleepless night in March, a siren was howling for five hours non-stop. Since then, Ukrainians know too well how alarm sounds like. First, a pulsating siren goes on for about three minutes. It gets mixed with human voices and the roar of car engines — everyone’s rushing to a shelter nearby.

Upon the arrival at a safe place, comes a drear moment of hiatus. But what seemed to be silence suddenly gets filled with all sort of sounds. An alarming hum outside, an explosion, someone’s heavy pant next to you, your own heartbeat, your inner voice… A grim version of a silence John Cage could’ve hardly imagined when creating his seminal minimalistic «4′33″» composition back in 1952.

The idea behind this project was an imaginary situation of an artist trying to recreate «4′33″» in modern-day Ukraine. It is highly possible that it would take several attempts, because the alleged silence gets disrupted by the dreadful sound of air raid sirens.

What you see here is an interactive map of air raid alerts field-recorded all over Ukraine. So similar, yet so dreadfully different. This is the new everyday sound surroundings in a country of 40 million affected by a brutal war. Every siren is a constant mortal dread.

Yet you are able to help. A small donation will make a big difference. All recorded sounds are put together to a compilation on Bandcamp. Click on a selected region and buy that siren sound or the full compilation.

All donations go to charities run by Ukrainian music scene members.

— «Repair Together» initiative is rebuilding houses at the de-occupied Ukrainian territories, in collaboration with several local and international music acts.

— «Musicians Defend Ukraine» foundation is helping musicians protecting cities all across the country.