time to catch-up (1) ….

the pace has picked up considerably over the last week or so. On Easter Saturday, I met Damian at a wet Malton station and we then drove into Dalby Forest. Damian wanted to record the acoustic characteristics of the forest so he can use this “acoustic signature” in his soundscape for Mesolithic Interventions.

We push our way deep into the pine forest an soon we reach a suitable spot well away from the road … though I am not sure quite what made this spot more suitable than the infinite number of similar spots around us.

There is much hand-clapping and listening to the sound fall off. The trees are planted close together, along narrow ridges with shallow furrows in between – a sort of throwback to 18th and 19th century narrow ridge and furrow agricultural practice. I guess Damian has chosen this spot because the trees are slightly further apart. Every now and then we hear a car passing in the distance, an aeroplane far overhead, a bird calling.

Damian rigs up the audio recorders: two Edirol devices. These recorders are quite astonishing. They are very small, they record professional quality sound, and the battery seems to last forever.

The edirols are taped to to a mic stand. Each device has twin built in microphones. The recorders are rigged so the microphones point in opposite directions. After more level adjustments the fun begins.

We have a pack of balloons. I retreat about 10-15m from the recorders into the forest. I then blow up a balloon. Ita ages since I have inflated a balloon and clearly my lung capacity isnt quite what it used to be – memo to self, more exercise! – anyway after much hufffing and puffing I inflate the first balloon. I crouch under the branches, balloon in one hand, pin in the other. No cars, no aeroplanes, no birdsong, Damian is happy so …. BANG! i pop the first balloon. The explosion is amazingly loud, it echoes around the forest for ages – an incredibly lively acoustic.

We then repeat this until all the balloons are gone and Damian is content that he has sufficient data to work with. We pack up and we emerge from the forest liberally dusted with pine needles, twigs clinging to jackets, trousers and hats.

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