Slieve Gullion is renowned as an area of natural beauty, but what does it sound like? Over 6 months, we recorded the soundscape of the mountain: from foot to summit. Using surround recording techniques and a variety of microphones, we captured the sounds of the dawn chorus, forest winds, farm animals, streams, and sounds from within the mountain-top cairn and lake. In this way, we could explore unique sounds and spaces that make up the soundscape of the area.
Also recorded were ‘unheard’ sounds not audible to the human ear, such as atmospheric activity using a VLF antenna and underwater sounds with a hydrophone. The combined recording have resulted in a 60-minute surround-sound audio experience that takes you on a journey around Slieve Gullion and draws from the rich tapestry of its sonic environment.
The project was funded by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland.
This works suggests a subtle shift in practice: from fixed to live, from predetermination to intervention. This evolution is slow and cautious, reflected in the treatment of the sound material. Changes in texture and intensity are explored slowly over the duration, blending minimal environments and hinting at the patient listening process involved in field recording.
‘Correspondence’ combines recordings from two different cities: Belfast and Rio de Janeiro. The composition explores unexpected similarities and variations in spatial density between two disparate sonic environments. The recordings open a dialogue, constructing a composition that maintains a sense of presence and initiates transitions between spaces not normally associated with either location. The recordings were made over a two month period between April and May 2014.
Correspondence is presented in a 42 minute stereo soundscape composition. An excerpt of Correspondence. ‘Correspondence – Transition #1’ was also included in the Sonic Terrain Compilation for the World Listening Day 2014.
‘Lough Foyle’ was conceived as a long-form radio composition, commissioned by Resonance FM as part of their residency at Void Gallery during the 2013 UK City of Culture celebrations in Derry. bunú recorded the sonic environment of various locations surrounding the Lough, using the recording process as a way of establishing a relationship with each location. Lough Foyle as a place of transition, a border.
‘Lagan:Behind’ developed from extensive recording in a set location along the River Lagan, Belfast over a six month period, allowing bunú to experience the sonic environment: an ever-changing rural scene alive with birdsong and the flowing Lagan, coloured with subtle reminders of its proximity to urban Belfast.