Let’s Get Lost is an immersive, sonic experience in an inner city wilderness from award-shortlisted producers For Now, and featuring a soundtrack specifically made to be listened to whilst wandering through Tower Hamlet’s Cemetery Park’s winding paths. Tower Hamlets Cemetery, the last of London’s magnificent seven is the largest urban woodland in London, and a magical place to explore just around the corner from Mile End tube station.

 

If you download the free app (currently Itunes only), plug in your headphones and simply wander, sounds and stories are triggered through the GPS on your phone as you pass through different parts of the cemetery – you walk in and out of the audio as you stroll. This makes it unlike other sound walk, as you choose your own route, and therefore your own soundtrack.

 

The soundtrack is a mixture of interviews and field recordings threaded through with lost sounds from the British Library’s archive, some of which are almost 100 years old.  Stories whisper in your ears - Rabbit catches bats, Christopher got lost at sea and Charlie Brown had a pub full of monkeys and the largest funeral the East End had ever seen.  In the invisible chapel you can hear a circle of horses snuffle in your ears. The stories last from 20 seconds to 10 minutes, and there are 28 intimate, audio portraits in total.  The use of British Library archival sounds gives a glimpse of hidden layers in the East End woodland and flickers of past lives, encouraging you to let go and lose yourself for a while.

 

The further you venture, the more you’ll hear – so the experience can last anything from 20 minutes to a couple of hours – and you can visit again, and take a different route, meaning you discover something new.  If you can’t get to the cemetery, you can listen to the music from the website by pressing the play symbols in the different places on the map.

 

We visited early one evening at the start of October, just before dusk on a sunny day, and the cemetery was reasonably busy with strollers, and people cutting through by bike or on foot.  The app downloaded quickly, and the soundtrack followed us as we walked around enjoying the early autumn trees and higgledy graves. I plan to come back at the weekend and try out Let’s Get Lost as part of a circular from Mile End taking in the Regents Canal and Victoria Park.

 

The app is Produced by Jo Morris and Susanna Grant and supported by Arts Council England. The original music is by Darren Hayman, former frontperson of the band Hefner, beloved of John Peel.  His more recent projects include Thankful Villages, an ambitious folk project, in which Darren visits all 53 of England and Wales’ thankful villages (all their members of the armed forces survived World War 1) and pulls together first person interviews, folk tales and songs, field recordings and his own personal experiences to create a vast patchwork depicting community, history and legend.