On any sunny, summer afternoon, the two tiny sailing clubs at Keyhaven — The New Forest’s coastal hamlet on the Solent — are filled with people launching their dinghies and floating off for a spin around the sheltered waters. There’s a uniquely tranquil ambience about the little place on days like this. I’ve tried to capture this feel in the composition, which features a combination of natural sounds from Keyhaven along with the music itself.
This composition is made from a recording of the sound of rigging wires on several small dinghies rattling against their metal masts in the wind. I’ve modified the pitches and turned the sounds into a musical piece using just those original sounds. The photograph shows Keyhaven, a beautiful sailing village within the New Forest National Park on the shores of The Solent. The landscape in the distance is the Isle of Wight. It’s very close from near here.
Wednesday morning, 6.30am in the middle of May, and it’s dawned still and clear on the outskirts of this New Forest village. The early sun is rising up through the oak and beech trees, casting long, dappled shadows on the dew-covered lawn. Outside this open window, birds are singing enthusiastically greeting the advancing dawn.
Now and again a car hisses by on a nearby, quiet forest road, sounding like an ocean wave running up the shoreline and then fading away. Up above, sharing the blue sky with the sun, airliners hurry along at 30,000 feet or so, leaving fluffy, white vapour trails and adding their distant, rumbling voices to the soundscape. Listen for a while…
Deep in the night, when the air is quiet and still, the eerie sound of distant trains sometimes floats through the forest. This soundscape was recorded near Brockenhurst at 11pm.
I recorded this one quiet, early morning at Brockenhurst Railway Station. A train arrives and departs. The varied different sounds are quite amazing, and I loved the way that, after the train departed, gradually the sound of the rails faded away and nature took over once again.
This Sound Art composition has been created from recordings of the automated voice heard inside the Lymington to Brockenhurst train, together with the sound of the train interior. The interior has been transferred to analogue tape as a loop, which forms the basis of the piece.
The Lymington Railway, running between Brockenhurst and Lymington was established in 1856 and a temporary station opened at Lymington on 12 July 1858. A permanent station was opened at Lymington Town in 1860. Three years later the company acquired a ferry to the Isle of Wight. The company was absorbed by the London and South Western Railway in 1879. Services were extended to Lymington Pier in 1884.
On Boxing Day each year, the annual point to point races are run across the forest. This piece is built from various individual recordings that I collected near the finishing line one chilly morning. This is a significant social gathering in the New Forest calendar, and it’s exciting!
The event is organised by responsible local officials of the New Forest Pony Breeding & Cattle Society who have wide experience and understanding of the race; usually having raced in it themselves in the past. They have good understanding of the New Forest habitats and special ecological status areas.
The location of the end point is not disclosed until after the closing date for entries about 1st. December. The participants are then told via the New Forest Pony Breeding & Cattle Society website. The location of the start point is not disclosed until the day before the race, and then only to participants.
The children’s races are approximately 1.5 miles escorted by mounted riders. The adult races are approximately 3 miles with mounted stewards along the course.
This piece was developed from a single recording of a vintage Titan tractor, which I captured at The New Forest Show. Eight different pitches of the original sound have been used, each an octave apart. Mechanical melodies have been produced by triggering elements of the original sound in semitone steps.