Atticus Bastow

Entry #2

19.10.2014

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Oct 15th – 17th

My efforts to return to Pretty Valley and the high plains were initially thwarted due to the recent intense weather periods having caused enough havoc to warrant closing the roads. After that, a day’s worth of snow stopped me yet again. While the roads were closed, I spent time working on the Junction Dam piece, making more recordings of myself activating the various chambers, this time with voice, and tone generators (provided by a smartphone). The piece definitely has threads of my larger Swarm & Murmuration performance piece, using the phones in the same manner of Doppler-creating gestural movement. I first spent some time in MaxMsp to identify a cluster of notes that seemed to fit the resonant qualities of the chambers, then replicated the frequencies using a signal generator on my phone. These frequencies were then doubled by multiple recordings of my own voice at various distances and positions inside the dam. These recordings will be combined with the body percussion and rock activation recordings from a few days ago.

Once the snow and debris had cleared from the road, I was able to revisit Pretty Valley and Mt McKay. At Pretty Valley, I collected some more samples to form the focus piece on the location itself, as well as making recordings of the small river that flows through the basin of the valley. The water recordings will potentially form a sonic component to this focus piece. The few structures that exist out there are all but silent. My attempts to make inductive recordings of the RF antennas on the tower providing no results other than the faint hiss of the recording device itself. The structures at the Rocky Valley Dam too are monolithic, yet almost totally silent. I do find it quite fascinating how invisible a lot of the infrastructure is, what with the lack of visible emissions, seemingly absent staff, and equally absent audible residue. I am going to try and visit some of the power stations in the area, to explore and make recordings of the inner workings, but I gather that will have to wait until the new week.

At Mt McKay, the fire-spotting tower still had large chunks of ice and snow left over from the snowfall. Water droplets, as well as occasional large chunks of ice, cascaded down the metal structure, activating the strutted frame of the tower itself. Featuring the use of contact mics, I made several recordings of the percussive and resonant sounds of the tower being activated by ice, water, and occasionally wind, though no plan as yet for these recordings.