The clouds have really opened up today, weather from the west. The water is falling on the little roof of my annex, muted percussive tones sent me to sleep and woke me up. In every recording I have made here these 2 weeks there has been the sound of the water. On a clear day on top of the mountains you can hear it, sparking pink noise echoing softly off the wattles and ghost gums. Without headphones on it sounds like itself, the river in the distance, the river spewing out over the spillway and over the rocks, it sounds like the ever present water. Back in my room listening on headphones it sometimes sounds just like pink noise.
As evolved humans we have the capacity to focus in on things of interest and tune out those that are not. We can tune out the “noise” of the world to pay attention to what is important. Things we see and hear everyday become common, “noise”, easily tuned out in a modern life of getting on with it.
I am talking to my new friend over coffee and he interrupts me with, “What you’re so excited about seein’ and recording, we here take for granted. We see it and hear it everyday and forget it’s here. It’s just terrific to listen to you talk about it, makes me grateful I live here.” I think about the pink noise of everyday that I block out. I finish my coffee and head to the river to record more “noise”.
In Mt Beauty there is a small pondage, a little lake to store and control the water flowing on down off the hydro-electric scheme into the Kiewa River. There is a walkway around the small lake it forms. At one point there is a slipway, a mini dam wall where water is under a constant controlled release. It is only about 3-4m across, the power and sound of the water is immense. The water rushes from the small outlet into an open concrete corridor, turns right and joins the river. Standing on the caged footbridge I set up my DPA 4060’s and record the overpowering sound. Below is a torrid washing machine, rushing and folding on top of itself. The sound is so loud, it’s hard to hear anything else, but it is not just pink noise. There is the constant low rumble and roar of tons and tons of water hitting the concrete. A mid-frequency swish and swirl and waves fall back on themselves not knowing how to get out to the river. Intermittent gentle highs sparkle like the fizz of champagne and the more I listen a content rhythm emerges. A pulsating beat emerges, the water is alive and definitely not “noise”.