After hearing so many field recordings in which plane sounds are an intrusion, it’s nice to hear one in which they are a subject - in this instance, the biplanes flying over attendees of Dorset’s “Weymouth Carnival”. Joe Stevens’ contribution to Seaside Sounds makes for a pleasant oceanside visit. We hear commentaries from the loudspeaker, peaceful interchanges between parent and children, the cries of seagulls overhead, even a Punch and Judy show. The sounds are worthy, but the sound quality is a bit muted. This liability is exposed from the sixth to eighth minutes, in which arcade music is captured at a higher volume than the rest of the recording, and more succinctly. Still, the overall arc is well-formed; the composition doubles back to the air show and concludes with fireworks and applause – reflecting what must have been a wonderful outing.
Luís Antero‘s half of the set, “Domingo de Pesta”, is similar in general subject (the ocean) but not in tone. The language is different (Portuguese), while the natural sounds (waves, seagulls, children) are amplified. Tractors take the place of planes, but are again part of the intentional soundscape: the Art-Xávega (fishing trawl) in which families help to remove fish from nets and separate them by species and size. The recording comes alive in the fifth minute with the simultaneous sounds of precipitation and excited conversation. Everyone seems to be having a good time, despite the weather. An even more effective section begins in the eighth minute, as Antero leaves behind the human element in order to approach the ocean directly.
As summer approaches, this pair of pieces makes for a fine prelude. Soon those of us who live within reach of the ocean will be making our pilgrimages. Seaside Sounds reminds us of the joy that awaits ~ the mingling of the great outdoors with the pleasure of good company. (Richard Allen)