New Jersey Ambience Surveys

4: Hudson River • 2020-09-20; 40.712164,-74.033602

September 21, 2020

It's a mild night, the last of summer. Looking out at New York City, the US epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic, feeling the weight of what is fearfully not the end of the Trump years.

3: Cedar Creek • 2018-11-25; 39.683969, -74.207675

November 25, 2018

More coastal exploration. Finding the edges. Stafford Road in Manahawkin, down to its rough end. Feeling the nothingness and grief of the dead center (almost) of the Trump years. Daylight rushes away earlier leaving a heavy, dark sky to work under.

A victory of blatant ignorance & disinformation; a malignancy suffused in everything and everyone. You know. Pondering the enthusiastic demise of the world as it has been. The sixth extinction, dying seas, subtle changes that are just enough to nudge species out of survival. Demise of truths. An insignificant moment not worth capturing.

A few lone cars drive on in the distance. Their white-noise drone is absorbed in the bay air.

2: City Gardens • 2016-05-08; 40.237362, -74.759784

May 8, 2016

Mother's Day. En route north to tour the state, through the state capital, Trenton. Stopped at what was once a music venue known as City Gardens in the 1980s and 1990s to take in the ambience. Mostly subculture thrived behind these walls: alternative rock, hardcore, and punk shows with occasional techno events.

My parents took me to my first live show here. Utah Saints opening for The Shamen. Long closed and now cracking apart, the ruins almost stand amongst the sprawl and drudgery as a now silent monument to the worlds unveiled inside for those who entered. Or, at least it's like that for me.

1: Seven Bridges • 2016-04-18; 39.521231, -74.318939

April 18, 2016

A cold, clear mid-April night. Followed a route locally known as Seven Bridges Road to where it ends in dunes and bay. There are not seven bridges. I hear it was once part of an unrealized plan from maybe a century ago to connect Tuckerton and Atlantic City with a bridge.

Along the way I came across an unknown source of cyclical tones beeping out into the desolate, bay-scented night air awash in white noise of distant ocean surf. Between the road and the bay there is fenced-off equipment with a trailer that seems to be doing the beeping.


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