Lewis Gilbert ~ Roundstone

BeachThe Atlantic Ocean is an eternal line that looks out at the shore from behind her untainted blue-grey eyes. Seashells lie abandoned on the white sand of the white beach. The ocean didn’t just deposit them here – it left them here. Little crabs scurry in and among the rocks. With every passing second, you can hear the repeating respiration of the sea. It rhythmically comes in and returns the world over, but no matter where you are or what ocean you look out at every beach and every shoreline will have a different sound. The ocean is the soft sound of tranquility. The ocean is the sound of infinity, a constant that repeats and yet progresses.

Lewis Gilbert invites you to take a trip to Roundstone, Co. Galway, a small, Irish fishing-village that sits on the cusp of the Atlantic, and these pure field recordings take us there. Standing on top of the cliffs, the remainder of the land is quiet, the chirpy chatter of the birds and the gruff whines of horses only interrupted by the steady breathing of the grey sea. The blue waves don’t so much crash and clatter as they do ripple ashore, cushioned by the foamy surf. Of course, the sea can be a dangerous, completely unforgiving place. Those life-giving waters can also sweep life aside, but the real source of drama and imminent threat doesn’t come from the ocean on this recording – it comes from the rough winds that buffet and surround the water. A fierce coastal wind rustles and pops against the microphone. Rustling rain-jackets brace themselves as dark clouds full of drizzle gather and hover over the Atlantic. The fabric ripples, and the hood threatens to give way. It holds fast, but barely. The endless, sweeping sea commands your full attention (and your full respect). The wind whips up against the waterproof. Ocean spray spatters up. Seagulls fly turbulently in the air, swaying this way and that, struggling to gain any kind of momentum. You can feel the wind hitting the side of your face, giving a healthy color and an inner glow to your cheeks despite its soberingly cold fingers.

An astonishing sound was discovered when the Atlantic wind blew through the holes in the rustic pipes of a nearby gate. Locally known as ‘The Musical Gate’, the whistling notes play day after day and are made entirely by the wind; it’s a sound created by nature, so you could say that the music is 100% natural. That driving wind plays another role in “A Pond Symphony”. It rolls through the reeds and through the grass. Hydrophone recordings play host to a symphony of pond insects. Recorded early in the evening of an overcast day with some rough winds and a fine drizzle of rain for company, the sound slowly focuses on the life of the pond. Even though you can physically leave the ocean behind, it would appear that the ocean can never truly leave your heart. Embrace the sound. Once the ocean has you in her arms, she’ll drag you out to sea. It is a sound that will always be with us; as sure as a golden sunset kissing the face of the blue.

Available here

One comment

  1. Pingback: ACL 2015: Top Ten Field Recording & Soundscape | a closer listen

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