Australian Sound Artist

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Day 2. The wind and the tide of Lindisfarne.

:: Walking path for the Monks to come and go from the island - marked by tall poles ::
Lindisfarne is a pretty interesting community (an understatement!). It has a recorded history dating back to the 6th century that includes tales of Viking attacks and nothing less than the birth of Christianity. Personally - what I find so intriguing about its nature is the fact that at certain times of the day, when the tide rises, the island is cut-off from the rest of civilisation. To live on the island is to live by the tide and in a rhythm with the elements you have no control over. People have done-so for well over a thousand years and I am sure they will continue to do-so in the years to come. 

The day of my visit (Wed 30th Oct) was windy and overcast - well suited to imagining the past lives that have sustained such a setting. We walked along the coastline - around the island and found one particularly striking place at which to record. 

:: Recording at Lindisfarne ::

The howl of the wind was the most voice-like I have ever heard. The halyards of the nearby boats banged against their masts - sounds ricocheted off the wall to my left. Chris's ears were noticeably quick at picking the spots where sounds were sweetest. Sometimes he would silently point and I would know where to move to listen. At times the wind would be too strong and we would stand to block its full gale, allowing the microphones a chance to absorb the sounds before wind distortion. 

In the late afternoon we headed to a hide that we had scouted earlier in the day. It was close-by, on the coastline and one that Chris had not recorded at before. While it was still light we positioned our microphones and ran the cable back to the hide. By nightfall - as the tide was moving in, so too was the bird wildlife and we began the recording. Over at least an hour, I listened as the sea crept closer and the bird's chatters grew louder. It is not a process you can rush - like the people of Lindisfarne -  we were also living by the tide - at the beck and call of it's own internal clock - a spectator to it as it passed us by. In the distance I could hear the trains passing through each half hour as per their timetable, adding to the pulse of the environment. As the darkness fell so too did the general humm of daily noise. The nocturnal cycle of sounds rose together as an unseen orchestra, hiding in the dark beyond the hide. We sat in a small circle of dim light - only able to listen and imagine what this world entails.

This project has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council for the Arts, its arts funding and advisory body.