A sound collage made from a variety of noises onboard my little one-man river kayak as I paddled downstream: captured with a small portable recorder safely wrapped in a protective plastic bag, and then combined back at my sound workshop using an audio sampler to form this sound art composition.
The hollow plastic kayak seemed to create, what I felt, was an interesting resonant sound similar to the soundbox of a big musical instrument such as a double bass.
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.
Coastal Etude is a study of the seaside in summer. It comprises a wide variety of sound objects captured along the forest coastline. These have been manipulated using Musique Concrete techniques and organised to form the finished piece.
These include: Weather forecasts, the shipping forecast, seagulls, waves on the shore and bubbling over rocks, children having fun on the beach and engaged in crabbing, natural helicopters and rhythmically manipulated helicopter, percolating step-synth, wind in the rigging of small boats, manipulated glitch-rigging, kayak paddling and tonal wind.
There are several places in the National Park where the forest reaches down to the sea, and the familiar forest of trees turns into a forest of masts. This composition was inspired by visiting one of those unique locations.
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.
Join me for a walk in The New Forest along a woodland stream called the Ober Water near the village of Brockenhurst. We’ll meet a dog splashing the stream, hear the bubbling water as it makes its way through the forest, crunch through some autumn leaves, encounter a wild forest pony coming to drink, be enveloped by the sound of birdsong, and perhaps even hear a woodpecker.
By the way, I recorded this soundwalk using a special production method, which will give you the feeling of really being immersed in the landscape and surrounded by the woodland and the stream, just like you’re really there – as long as you listen on headphones (the surround sound effect doesn’t work on speakers). For the technically-minded, it’s a recording technique known as ‘binaural’.
Imagine relaxing with a favourite book, or taking a picnic beside one of The New Forest’s mesmerising and beautiful meandering streams. If you can’t be there in person, then perhaps this may serve as the next best thing. Absolutely designed to be dreamy. Drift away….
I composed this after taking the dog out along a stream near Blackwater. It was one of those beautiful still, sunny mornings and the sunlight was filtering through the trees and catching the ripples here and there and turning them into tiny diamonds that seemed to dance and sparkle as they flowed downstream. I was inspired to try to capture the scene in sound.