Dawn Rechorused

Sound Art Composition

A sound art composition, Dawn Rechorused takes a recording of the dawn chorus running initially at normal speed. Then, as the piece progresses, the birdsong gets slower. First to 1/2 then 1/4 then 1/8 of the original speed using imperceptible crossfades. I think it’s amazing how the birdsong changes. When it gets really slow it sounds almost tropical.

It serves to show the fascinating melodic variations of garden birds. The more the original is slowed down, the more varied and unusual the bird’s melodies become. Things that can’t be distinguished at normal speed become clear. Although it’s old-fashioned, slowing down analogue reel to reel tape in this way presents a much more organic and natural quality than trying to slow down modern digital recordings.

Ripples

Ambient Music Composition

A gentle ambient music piece that combines a forest stream with a soft Fender Rhodes electric piano composition. This was recorded on a pair of linked, vintage valve Brenell and Ferrograph, early 1960’s tape recorders connected together by a loop of tape to form a time lag accumulation tape delay (a technique from the world of 1960’s experimental tape music). The intention here was to try to create music to capture the way that ripples in the forest stream sparkle and dance in the morning sunlight.

Ponysales

Sound Art / Soundscape Composition.

A Sound Art composition created from raw material recorded at the Autumn Beaulieu Road Pony Sales. The idea was to create an organic piece that features the commoners, the sound of the ponies and the auctioneer, but compose it so that it has some unusual “listen again” elements, such as the modification of the auctioneer’s patter into a rhythmic pattern.

The Beaulieu Road pony sales yard is located on the Lyndhurst to Beaulieu road about three miles from Lyndhurst. The main pony sales occur late in the year there. All the New Forest ponies are rounded up by Agisters and commoners, taken off the Open Forest, counted and then health checks and necessary treatments given. The pony sales that occur soon afterwards provide the animals owners, (known as New Forest Commoners) the chance to sell their livestock, or to purchase more. 

In a Bluebell Wood

Ambient music composition.

An ambient music composition. The natural soundscape of a bluebell wood recorded near New Park Manor in The New Forest, is combined here with an electric piano fed through a pair of Uher reel-to-reel tape recorders to create a softly disintegrating analogue tape echo. The piece aims to evoke the gentle movement of the bluebells in the Spring breeze.

Slow Stream

Sound Art Composition.

What does a forest stream sound like when slowed down, especially when the trickles and bubbles become unusual rhythmic structures?

This is a Sound Art piece and developed from crossfading four different sound sources together. Some of them have been slowed down by recording them onto magnetic tape on an elderly Ferrograph reel-to-reel machine, to as much as 1/64th of their normal speed to reveal the hidden and unusual sounds present. I recorded the source material along the Ober Water forest stream near Brockenhurst.

The piece starts with the stream at normal speed and then bit by bit, it gets progressively slower, and interesting rhythms start to emerge.

Brockenhurst Dawn Chorus

The dawn chorus of birdsong, recorded at about 5.00am in Brockenhurst during late March.

The dawn chorus of birdsong is the natural world’s most impressive and renowned ‘concert’. It sounds beautiful to us, but to the birds it’s simply a way to for rival males to resolve territorial conflicts. Basically, the louder and stronger your song and the more time you spend singing it, the better territory you can claim and the higher the chance of a female choosing to mate with you.

Experts contend that birds sing in the mornings because at this time, their sound carries further due to the lack of general noise and also the density of the air at that time of day.

The first birds to sing are often blackbirds, robins and wrens. Apparently birds with larger eyes start to sing earlier than those with smaller eyes. Larger eyes provide better light-gathering ability, so larger-eyed birds feel safe singing in the low, early dawn light because they find it easier to spot predators that might be attracted to their song.

Most of the dawn chorus comprises of males singing constantly repeating patterns of tones from elevated or conspicuous spots within their territory or breeding areas. Once the light levels start to rise, it’s often hunger that drives birds to stop singing and start looking for food instead.