I decided to push the release forward for this – enjoy!
Objects of varying origin and permenance.
From organic and mechanical means
distinguish their form in the chaos of the tides and substrates
and appear like this before your very eyes
to be collected or left behind
to be lost and found again
on a another day
in a new wave
A new review for The Path Described (2013)
3 Leaves presents The Path Described, a 3 track CD by South Australian sound artist Tristan Louth-Robins. Over the years I’ve heard a number of field recording albums documenting the natural word. Most recordings are expertly captured, but it’s a genre many find easy to discount. There is certainly no lack of recordings documenting the sounds of crickets, waterfalls, birds, wildlife, traffic, wind, etc. However, if the only thing that draws me to a recording is the pure sonic experience, then I might find dismay in “another” field recording disc to review. However, what grabs me in are the stories that led the artist to record the sounds. In that sense these albums are as much about personal biography and the emotional imprint the artist leaves on the final product. The Path Described embodies that ideal of field recordings being not only a document, but a personal statement of the artist’s life.
The Path Described is Louth-Robins’ reconnection to the world where he grew up. His formative years were found in Normanville, a small coastal town on the Fleurieu Peninsula in Southern Australia. Many of Louth-Robin’s childhood memories were imprinted with the sights and sounds of his natural environment. This album, an ode to his childhood surroundings, compiles field recordings of the peninsula’s coastlines and other surrounding natural areas.
Comprised of 3 compositions, it’s hard to really elaborate on each piece in isolation, as they sounds and feel like one continuous track. As to be expected, we hear the sounds of birds chirping and cawing, crashing waves, and water flowing. We hear the artist traversing earth and liquid, the aural sounds of his magical environment, and the sounds of a forest or field teaming with the sounds of buzzing insects. It’s all excellently captured and a great documentation of the natural world he is occupying.
In conclusion, The Path Described is truly a splendid aural retelling of childhood memories through adult eyes.
A re-worked version of my People’s Weather Report which will be broadcast on Radio National very soon. This version incorporates a revised spoken text and Fleurieu-centric field recordings. The earlier version of the Weather Report will be installed as part of Arts House’s Going Nowhere project at North Melbourne Town Hall (21-23 November)
I’m sitting on the sand beneath Normanville jetty, looking out to the ocean. The jetty’s century-old character comes into relief: supporting posts weathered by the elements, rusted bolts, horizontal beams which have been periodically carved or illustrated with pocket knives and pens – inscribing initials, romantic allusions and indecipherable text. During the peak of summer, tar will occasionally ooze from the beams and emit a pungent, though strangely satisfying smell combined with the salty air and heat.
I’m facing south looking down the western coastline of the the Fleurieu Peninsula. The visual quality of the peninsula’s coastline is striking – Normanville beach with its ancient sand dunes stretching elegantly into the distance, eventually joining a succession of sheer cliffs and bluffs; concealing secluded beaches, reefs and caves.
I begin to wonder what the future will hold for parts of the coastline.
Normanville Beach will be transformed, the jetty eventually submerged; and what of the ancient sand dunes that overlook the beach and extend down the coastline?
What of the beach houses and shacks that are nestled behind just a thin strip of native vegetation looking out onto Lady Bay? The shallow dunes will have given way to rising tides, the parcels of vegetation and large clearings transformed into a network of lagoons. The beach houses and shacks rendered no longer habitable – their prefabricated ruins having gradually washed away into the ocean.
Terrestrial caves that were explored as a child are most likely transformed into underwater caves.
What of the marina at Wirrina Cove holiday resort? Submerged breakwaters, pontoons torn from their moorings and capsized vessels clustered together?
The secluded beach coves of Second Valley once covered with large pebbles and rock outcrops. Now all immersed in water; the ocean risen and making its way to meet the cliff tops that overlook this part of the coastline.
Then, nearing toward the headland of the peninsula is Rapid Bay. The once long stretch of beach is now submerged marked only by two impressive landmarks that still remain above water; at the southern end: a quarry that was dug into the side of a steep hill in the 1940’s. Its airborne dust of floating limestone particles that settle into the seabed, turning the water an attractive turquoise blue. Then, at the northern end of the bay: just above the water’s surface a slight opening of what used to be an open air cave, now colonised by ocean life.
Then, above Rapid Bay is Starfish Hill and an installation of wind turbines; one of many wind farms that have been installed across South Australia over the past fifteen years. The wind turbines on Starfish Hill will most likely survive a significant rise in sea levels, but who knows what other environmental cataclysms await us in the near future? In a way their presence is a comfort, they are a symbol that reminds me that we can make difference and turn things around.
TLR, November 2014.