Hebdomadal sound project: August 2016

Week 35
Kenfig National Nature Reserve, Bridgend
August 31st, 3.30-4.30pm

This week’s recording adds to the industry-meets-nature-reserve landscape theme of August. Off of the coast of the village of Pyle is Kenfig National Nature Reserve, of which the centrepiece is Kenfig Pool. I came, though, to come and see and record the coastal sand dunes that the area is known for. The first recording captures wind shifting sand along dunes close to the sea, which rumbles low and steady in the background.


The second recording captures sand dunes that have been colonized by grassland; a regional habitat that is known for its (often rare) orchids. You can hear grasshoppers stridulating, wind blowing through the grass, and a plane flying quite low overhead.


Setup: 2 DPA 4060 lavalier mics in stereo position to Sound Devices 702

Week 34
Barry Island, Vale of Glamorgan
August 24th, 3-3.30pm

A trip to Barry Island on a warm but grey day started with a walk through the dizzying Pleasure Park, and ended on Whitmore Bay with a gentle rain falling.



Setup: 2 DPA 4060 lavalier mics in stereo position to Sound Devices 702

Week 33
Newport Wetlands nature reserve
August 17th, 12.00pm

My love of interesting but marginal areas of coastal land is well served in south Wales; there is nothing pretty or twee about many landscapes here where industry meshes with fascinating flora and fauna. This happens at nature reserves, such as Newport Wetlands. Run by the RSPB, it was created in 2000 as a form of environmental compensation for the loss of tidal habitats when the Cardiff Barrage was created. Part of the site is a former coal ash dumping ground produced by the Uskmouth power station that still looms over the landscape. The following recording is from within the nature reserve; you can hear high-voltage power lines crackling overhead (which is called corona discharge), insects, various birds, and the power station off to the distant left – I think the chugging sound it is producing is from coal traveling up a conveyor belt on its way to be incinerated.


Setup: 2 DPA 4060 lavalier mics in stereo position to Sound Devices 702

Week 32
The Great Orme, Llandudno
August 10th, 12-2pm

During a visit to Llandudno in north Wales, I scaled the Great Orme, a headland that towers over the small town. The Great Orme has a fascinating history, and continues to bear the marks of tourism that boomed in the mid-1800s. There are many ways to get to the top of the Great Orme: you can walk, drive, take a cable car, or a tram on the Great Orme Tramway.
The first recording is of the cables and rollers that haul the trams up the headland from the engine room, which sits at the midway point of the track, while the second is from under the base of a pylon supporting the Llandudno Cable Car.



Setup: 2 DPA 4060 lavalier mics in stereo position to Sound Devices 702

Week 31
Parc Penallta, Caerphilly
August 4th, 2.30-3.50pm

Parc Penallta is a community park that has been created on the remains of a coal tip produced by what was the Penallta Colliery in the Rhymney Valley. I studied the transformation from tip to park as part of my PhD thesis, and it was also the location for one of my initial forays into field recording in a considered manner, so I was excited to come back to the site for the first time since 2010 to do some recording.
The following is two hydrophone recordings edited together; the first part is from within a large fishing lake, and is dominated by the sound of insects and what I presume to be fish swimming by. The is second from within a small, shallow pond that has been carved out of the tip, and consists of bubbles of oxygen released from aquatic plants under the surface of the water.


Setup: 1 mono hydrophone to Sound Devices 702