Today is my 1st solo Zodiac trip with the head zodiac driver 'Flipper', to see if we can find an isolated spot that's far enough away from the ship and other zodiacs, so that I may listen in relative silence. I recall from my Arctic trip just how difficult this can be, so I'm prepared for all kinds of interferences. It is quite strange to be in one of the remotest places on the planet and still be haunted by unwanted human-made sounds! Of course, even more so, as I drop the hydrophones (underwater microphones) deep into the water and reveal all of the excessive noises we humans are making simply by being here! If I am distracted by this, how do you think the seas permanent/temporary inhabitants feel????
As well locate some potential sources and Flipper pulls us close, I try to listen beyond the engines and deep down into the floating or grounded icebergs.....and it is simply glorious. My 👂 carry strong and tangible memories of familiar sounds of Arctic ice, but also new sounds emerge. Each and every piece of ice is unique, this is why I am and will continue to keep searching for opportunities like this one to listen. Here, right at this moments of this icebergs life I hear fresh pops and the build up of pressure before a low and relatively soft release. The sun is shining and the ice is...well......SINGING.....You can 👂 all of the tiny air bubbles escaping, rising and reaching for the surface. It's like you have been dropped in to a very intense negotiation and are ease-dropping on a language we can't possibly understand, but gleaming the general urgency of its call. Once again, after 9 years, I am back in the land of extremes: above almost total silence, beneath a cacophony of communication, motion and life. And......briefly.... my ears and I are alone with the ice....... until we break by the sound of a distant zodiac engine.
This is my first outing with a new team. Flipper and I have never met, which is extremely unusual for field recording. Usually and preferably, it's a lone and private activity. However, if for security or other reasons someone needs to be there, it's always someone I know and trust implicitly. This setup will take time and patience, but Flipper clearly knows + respects this place, is keen to help + seems to value the act of listening, which signals a wonderful beginning. We move to a few locations and test just how far the ship engine noise travels, so we can plan and consult with the bosses for our next trip. For today however, I have heard the potential and am floating on a high from the ice songs. For hours we float and slide by numerous icebergs of all shapes and sizes. They are so elegant, yet dominant. They appear like the stationary giants in an otherwise fluid landscape, yet they too are constantly moving, breathing, resizing and re-shaping. The air is crisp and the rich sun provides colour and warmth, as the blissful reality of my situation continues to startle me.
A composer/sound artist whose compositions try to bring every day environments, how we hear every day sounds/places + how we are in the world into focus. At the root of this is a continued interest in blurring the distinction between what we consider ‘music’ and all other sound.