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  • Matthew Shenton

Listening the the Landscape 7

I have been thinking recently about part of the project plan that was specifically about finding the 'hidden' sounds of the village. Part of this will be exploring the sounds that can be found by using contact microphones and a 'geophone' that can sense small vibrations in materials and even in the soil.

The techniques for using these specific microphones are fascinating, but require me to set aside long periods of time for the field recordings, and also time for any post production tinkering to get any discernible sounds audible to the human ear. Could I capture any 'hidden' sounds by placing microphones into or near any other covered areas?

Whilst out and about I became aware of a great hullabaloo inside a large bush that was caused by a group of excited sparrows. I could hear their sound exploding from behind the foliage, could see the branches and leaves moving but could not see the birds themselves. This turned my thoughts toward the many hedges around the parish; hedges that are currently mainly bare but for the blossom announcing the coming of spring.

A 2012 hedgerow report states Holbrook had 468 hedges running for a total a distance of 41km (25 miles) within the parish. They are nature's corridors and provide cover for animals to move between habitats. They also provide shelter for walkers seeking a brief refuge from the wind that often rips across the open fields.

Holbrook's hedges line many of the footpaths and roads in and around the village. The recording below captures the sounds within a hedge on a grey morning in February.

I was enthralled by the bird sounds the recording captured within ten minutes. The sounds within the hedge were totally different to those outside of it. The Merlin bird app identified: blue tit, great tit, song thrush, magpie, rook, robin, jackdaw, graylag goose, long-tailed tit, blackbird, mistle thrush, goldfinch and jackdaw.

Also present is the drone of a leaf blower, a tractor and two flights passing overhead: one from Heathrow to Vienna and one from Budapest to Stanstead.

More information about Suffolk's hedgerows can be found here:

[This field recording was recorded to showcase the natural sounds heard in a rural setting. It features no human voices. No monies will be made from the recording. Please contact me if you have any concerns]


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