LA Listens is a collaboration between a composer/music technologist, a sound ethnographer, and an acoustic ecologist that explores the experience of Los Angeles’ urban soundscape. Our project, building on R. Murray Schafer’s World Soundscape Project, takes an analytic-praxis approach to listen and creatively respond to the interrelationships between the sensory, social, and ecological aspects of streets in Los Angeles. We capture neighborhood-level field recordings based on sound walks and the city government’s public data and urban planning programming. Through ethnographic analysis and creative reinterpretation of our recordings, we scrutinize the meanings of urban vibrancy and speculate the existing and future role of motorized vehicles, pedestrians, conversations, and street vendors in the multivalent soundscape of LA’s neighborhoods.
This paper presents a methodology developed from our first research site at the intersection of East Cesar Chavez ave. and Chicago St. in the neighborhood of Boyle Heights. Drawing upon Lefebvre’s rhythm analysis,  we consider the periodic change in neighborhood sounds as rhythm, and specifically how the dynamic periodicity of sound events impacts the neighborhood experiences. Analyzing sonograms of our recordings, we interpret underlying patterns in sonic events as overarching rhythms, including the dominance of the periodic flow of vehicular traffic within the soundscape. Timing and loudness data are converted to MIDI, and can be re-sonified to demonstrate both the prevalence and rhythm of these sounds in the neighborhood. We have also reinterpreted the soundscape by editing and processing our original recordings in order to create a speculative composition of a virtual car-free environment through the removal of vehicular sounds. Our MIDI data, as well as our original recordings, are made publicly available in order to spark a dialogue with artists and community members to encourage further reinterpretations of the city’s sounds.
 Henri Lefebvre, Rhythmanalysis: space, time, and everyday life , trans. Stuart Elden and Gerald Moore (New York: Continuum, 2004): 15-16.