Australian Sound Artist

Sunday, February 17, 2013

KunstRadio Commission: Booroomba Rocks experience

:: Booroomba Rocks, Feb 2013 ::
Last weekend was spent heading to Booroomba Rocks to complete the field recording for the final piece in the KunstRadio commissions. The day ended up being a surreal experience to say the least - with an uncanny amount of participation from Lady Luck at points where it really should have all turned pear-shaped.... As Luck would have it, there was not a soul to be seen at the lookout. I discovered this was not only because of the approaching storm but also due to a festival. Locals and tourists alike headed to Canberra city for the annual Multicultural festival leaving the nature-loving curious to experience their bush surroundings in an eerie stillness, disturbed only by their own trudging of footsteps. 

The storm was a concern. I was nearly hit by lightening once - the world froze in a white light, there was an almighty crack/black and then the world started up again much the same except my hair was smoking/smelt strange and adrenalin was making my legs shake as I ran down the hill. While I was determined to record what I could of the storm, I knew it was unwise to be standing on top of a mountain next to a metal rod while it passed. Distant thunder started while Len and I packed our bags for the walk at the base of the mountain. We made the decision to continue the climb.


I had forgotten the way the bush goes quiet before a storm. The birds stop calling and sometimes - even the crickets cease... It felt ominous - like a preparation of what was to come - a 'battening down of the hatches' for the impending blows. I can't remember it ever being so quiet and here I was, expecting to record sounds. We reached the top, I began scouting for a slightly sheltered space, time became shorter and I realised that there was only a matter of minutes before nature's show would begin. Setup became a bit frantic with the swelling quiet consuming the space of time. As luck would have it, I managed to gather the beginning of the storm as it passed us by - barely clipping us with it's edges - leaving us safe from the lightening and as an awestruck audience on eye level with the clouds as we watched the elements play their part around us. We weren't completely protected - the rain still came and I stopped recording when it turned to hail. The microphones got questionably soaked (I will try them out to make sure they are OK) - but we were extremely lucky. My legs still shook as we headed back down the hill.

Thankyou to Lennart Katzwinkel for his beautiful photos and general calming influence on the day (and every other day).

This project has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australian Council for the Arts, its arts funding and advisory body.
Equipment used in these recordings included microphones purchased through the support of the Australian Council. For more details please see HERE.