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  • Matthew Shenton

Listening to the Landscape 5 - data and chickens

Updated: 20 hours ago

My ACE funded project to explore my local soundscape has really started to ramp up over the last two weeks. I am continuing to learn how to program audio Max/MSP with the goal of being able to create instruments that can respond to data being fed into them. However, the course is starting to become more intense and now requires multiple viewing of videos and accessing help guides for me to grasp the intricacies of of the course.

I am really looking forward to February when I will meet with two inspirational practitioners: ecological sound artist Jo Kennedy and award-winning composer, improviser and live performer Loula Yorke. I have followed Jo and Loula's work for many years, and was amazed when they both agreed to share some of their knowledge and expertise with me and to help me develop my practice.

My main project mentor is sound artist, performer and Courier record label boss Stuart Bowditch. I have been regularly meeting with Stuart to discuss various aspects of the project including field recording techniques and community engagement. Stuart is a seasoned sound artist with a wealth of information and ideas he is prepared to share. I am extremely lucky to have him on board.

Stuart and I have also tested out my new hydrophones (microphones designed for underwater recording) at Stratford St Mary during the recent floods to explore what a river in spate sounded like. Using my Zoom F3 field recorder I was able to record some interesting underwater sounds, and the 32bit recordings were able to capture some noisy clunks of debris striking the hydrophones without clipping. I hope to use my hydrophones to explore the various brooks and streams around Holbrook, and to record the incoming tide on the Stour at Lower Holbrook.

[On location in Stratford St Mary testing out hydrophones. Image by Stuart Bowditch]

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Work, windy weather and a very tickly cough made field recording a little tricky this week. However, I took inspiration from it being the RSPB 'Big Garden Birdwatch' to capture a recording of my garden whilst we tallied up the starlings, sparrows and other winged visitors to our garden.

Also present in the recording are some very hungry chickens (we fed them soon after). I know at least six other village houses with chickens, and wonder how this compares with life in the village a century ago? Did every house keep domestic fowl for easy access to eggs?

[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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