The sounds of Manchester have long inspired the masses.
We are the city that produced The Smiths, New Order, Oasis, and now… Beetham Tower howls?
Yes, you read that right. The downtown landmark has become well known to residents for its strange howls in strong winds which were first reported in 2006.
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But a sound that some have described as “causing distress” is music to the ears of others, with several artists near and far choosing to sample the eerie sound of their music.
Perhaps the most famous, if little known, use of the sound was in 2017 by American rock band Paramore.
Beetham’s eerie moans feature on their song “Idle Worship”, a fact revealed by guitarist Taylor York in an interview with Radio 1’s Zane Lowe.
“In the UK there’s this building and I can’t remember which city, but there’s this skyscraper that has this metal grille on it, and when the wind blows really hard it makes this noise of crazy howl, and that’s the noise in ‘Idle Worship,'” York told Lowe.
And in 2016, Mancunian DJ Darius Syrossian released “Beetham Tower”, a track that turns Beetham’s moans into a house mix.
Beetham Tower, located on Deansgate and home to the Hilton hotel, was not supposed to make noise in strong winds.
The whine is due to the glass fins at the top of the skyscraper, which hum when strong winds pass through them.
Work has taken place to try and eradicate the noise, but nothing has been successful so far.
In the meantime, musicians continue to be inspired…
Harry Critchley, a 26-year-old composer from Warrington, is one of many to have been inspired by Beetham’s mournful howls.
He recently created his own track with the sound, which got a huge reaction after posting it on Reddit.
Critchley told the Manchester Evening News he first saw a video of Beetham screaming on a subreddit called r/Buildings.
“In my mind it sounded like drums and bass, so I thought it was great, I can use it, put it in a song,” he said.
“It feels almost ethereal, quite alien, a bit spooky almost. I thought I’ll mix that up, pop it in a bit to give it some real contrast and see what happens!
Critchley didn’t consider his mix to be a serious track – “I thought it would be a meme song!” he confessed – but that didn’t stop people on Reddit from liking it.
Her post sparked a response on the website, with users pointing out other artists who have found similar inspiration in the sound.
“I didn’t know people sampled this exact building, but I know people sample weird stuff,” he said.
“It’s interesting to see all the different ideas that have emerged from something that isn’t even inherently musical.”
The track was so popular with listeners that Critchley said he plans to continue and complete the song – and that’s not all.
Commenters even asked if he could do a collection of tracks focusing on the sounds of Manchester – something he says he would like to do in the future.
“Now that this one has come together nicely, I think I’d like to finish this one and then hopefully do a little EP of Manchester sounds turned into songs!
“I think it would be quite interesting, and also a bit of a challenge, which is what I like to keep pushing forward.”