Essex musicians sampled historical sound archives to create a 12-track album over lockdown.

Put together by Chelmsford-based arts collective Resonance, the album 'Recreating the Record' features samples of soundscapes, such as a busy night on Southend seafront, traffic on the A13, or work in factories in Basildon.

The sounds, collated by Essex Records Office, have been manipulated using audio processing tools to create a diverse range of electronic music, ranging from ephemeral ambience to beat-driven industrial noise.

And an online map shows exactly where each sound was recorded – and when.


One of the musicians and co-founder of Resonance, Chris Adams, also known as Broken Atoms, wrote in a blog on the project: “The Record Office has an extensive archive of recorded audio material from around Essex. Many of these archives are fragile and at-risk – having been initially captured decades ago on ageing formats such as reel-to-reel tapes, early records or even wax cylinders. These are continuously in the process of being digitised, in order to preserve the audio history of Essex.

“All of this is probably old news to fans of the Record Office, but it struck me as a fantastic opportunity to involve the members of Resonance in an interesting project: using the archives of sound to create music that embodies the spirit of revival and restoration. Combining the old with the new.

The project was first conceived of in January of this year, in the middle of the UK's third national lockdown.

Chris and his team came together to collate samples they wanted to use before working their magic.

Chris added: “The result of these experiments is a journey that moves between dark, minimal compositions and uplifting passages that highlight the mixed history of Essex. Nostalgic sounds merge with machinery noises reminiscing of Chelmsford’s scientific and industrial heritage. Field recordings capture the Essex countryside and Southend Seafront, combined with introspective electronic melodies. The ambience of Colchester and its famous Zoo blend with trains and sampled orchestral TV programmes, inviting memories of days out around Essex and the journeys these archives capture.”

The album is available to purchase digitally at: