Flashback 2014: Mulberry Farm dam recording with hydrophones

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Back in September 2014, L and I spent a weekend at a family friends farm near Yankalilla. One morning a went out to make some recordings across the property – exploring the surrounding scrub, hills, gullies and creeks. Near the homestead there’s a dam where I made some hydrophone recordings. Though I’d listened back to some of my above-grond recordings made around the farm, I never got around to properly examining these hydrophone recordings.

I was going through some Fleurieu-centric recordings, scouring my archive for some material to put on the Fleurieu Sound Map when this one came up and it piqued my interest. I imported it into RX, tweaked the EQ and gain slightly and it came to life. What is revealed is an underwater environment teeming with life and activity – everywhere. The spatial quality that I captured in this recording is very impressive. I thought I’d mislabelled this with one of Rolf Julius’ dense polytextured installation pieces. There’s a lot going on here.

The recording consists of three primary sound elements:

  1. A high-pitched cloud of incessant activity – micro-gestures, metallic flutters, sibilent voices and crackles.
  2. Distinctive scratching and rhythmic activity of (what I presume are) yabbies. There’s some really nice foregrounded polyrhythmic activity that can be heard distinctly on the left and right channels.
  3. A myriad of other voices – some weaved into the texture of dense sonic clouds, others emerging occasionally into the foreground. A variety of squeaks, flutters, gurgles and other related verbs and adjectives that currently elude me.

Enjoy!

Fleurieu Sound Map Update: Goolwa Wharf, 2015 South Australian Wooden Boat Festival

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A new addition to the Fleurieu Sound Map.

Site index: http://www.tristanlouthrobins.com/fleurieu_soundmap/sites.html

A day of stifling Summer heat on the Goolwa Wharf where a large crowd has amassed around a couple of large historic paddle steamers which are about to depart. As this recording begins, a boat race is coming to an end as various announcements are made over the P.A, sails ripple in the air and a bell occasionally chimes. As the larger of the paddle steamers begins to leave the dock, a group of bagpipers and a sole drummer (positioned on the rear upper deck) start to play, as the paddle steamer crosses the audible field and gradually fades into the distance.

The People’s Weather Report: New version for RN broadcast and revised text.

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.