Philip Goddard
www.broad-horizon-nature.co.uk
Broad Horizon Nature
 
 
 
 

Broad Horizon Natural Soundscapes


 

See also Part 2 (PCM-D100 recordings)


image Natural Soundscapes and Related Recordings
CDs from e-store, with preview excerpts


Recording beside the seaward aspect of Boscastle blowhole, Cornwall, UK


Preliminary Notes


Why natural soundscape recordings at all?

People often ask me what one would use such recordings for. The answer is simple: For pretty well everyone they are the much healthier alternative to listening to lots and lots of music. While listening to healthy types of music (which only a small minority do to start with) can be positive and beneficial, listening to even the healthiest music choices regularly for extended periods is harmful for anyone.

That is why it makes really great sense to play harmonious and engaging natural soundscape recordings instead, especially for city dwellers and others whose surroundings are either too silent (encourages tinnitus) or are replete with inharmonious sounds such as traffic (increases overall stress level generally).


As from June 2012 I started using a Sony PCM-M10 recorder to make CD-quality recordings of natural soundscapes that would be healthy and harmonious to have playing at times in one's living space - indeed, more often than not, more so than music. These soundscapes would usually involve the sea along rugged parts of the Cornish coastline, but would also include wind and other weather sounds, and of course, where it suitably presents itself, birdsong and indeed even insects. I have included in this overall project a sub-project, Wind Chimes in the Wild - Symphonies of Wind Chimes and Nature.

In January 2013 I purchased a second recorder of the same model, so that I could often make concurrent pairs of recordings with different viewpoints / perspectives. That turned out to be an excellent choice, which considerably boosted the productivity of many of my recording sessions.

In March 2016 I purchased the more advanced, more definitely 'professional' Sony PCM-D100, but found it to be of extremely limited usefulness. Despite all its hype and glowing reviews everywhere, and all its undoubted great features, for a nature recordist like me it is for much of the time effectively a piece of expensive junk! - Be warned!

Reason? - Its insanely wind-sensitive microphones, which are so wind-sensitive that even with the best of furry windshields available for this model, it is impossible to get recordings acceptably free from major wind disturbance except in calm or extremely (unusually) light breeze conditions. It can provide me with acceptable recordings in only a small proportion of situations where the PCM-M10 with the Røde DeadKitten (original, light grey version) managed well. The option to use an external microphone arrangement (which I would like to do) is not a practical possibility.

Higher quality versions of the recordings...

As from my Boscastle recordings of 9th January 2013, I have actually been recording at higher quality (24-bit, 48KHz), but was reducing that to standard CD quality for my own use, so that the higher quality versions simply formed my original recordings archive. That did mean, however, that, given suitable notice, I could process and edit a 24-48 version of a requested file if a suitable financial offer were made for a licence to use it. The higher quality versions of the recordings would be of particular interest to specialists and commercial users of sound recordings, such as broadcasters or commercial producers of recordings. If you have particular reason to require any of the higher quality versions of my recordings, do feel free to contact me to arrange purchase of a licence to use them (if appropriate, together with a CD-ROM or DVD-ROM containing the required file(s)).

Actually I thought I had been keeping a folder of the higher quality versions alongside the CD-quality ones - both fully processed and edited. However, I soon found to my disgust that Audacity had been letting me down by saving only as 16-bit when I applied batch operations to the files, and there was no way to change that behaviour. (Much more recently I have found that that issue has been fixed - though it is still far too easy to save in the wrong bit depth.)

I had already run up against a problem with WavePad because it saves all 24-bit FLAC files as 16-bit without telling one or giving one any means to know what their bit depth is. I therefore came to the conclusion that it was more trouble than it was worth to attempt to keep two versions of each edited and 'final' file - so my original recordings archive was my repository of original-quality files, just in case any of those might be required in the future.

However, in March 2016 I had a policy review over this because I was noticing the poorer quality of many sea recordings reduced to CD quality, as compared with the 24-bit originals. It wouldn't be practical to retrospectively replace all my 16-bit working copies with new 24-bit ones, but I am making this change for a small number, and, more significantly, all my working copies of new recordings will be 24/48. That means that when I need to produce 16-bit copies of them, such as for CD production, those copies will be deleted after use in order to minimize the considerable impact on my file storage space.

Why simply using a supposedly good hi-fi speaker system is not enough for listening to natural soundscape recordings

The very notion of 'hi-fi' ('high-fidelity' and thus supposedly giving accurate reproduction) is actually FALSE as generally applied. The main problems are as follows:

Solutions to the problem

I had a miserable and frustrating series of Internet searches for a graphic or parametric equalizer that would do the trick. Actually eventually, for use with my computer speakers, I came up with a quite tolerable software solution - the parametric equalizer Equalizer APO, using fPEQGUI-10 as an excellent front-end for it. However, setting this up requires considerable expertise and is not the sort of thing that the average listener would make a good job of, even if they wanted to try.

On the other hand, for my main hi-fi system, taking audio from my CD player and DAB radio, and not connected to my computer at all, some sort of hardware solution was required. After a long and frustrating series of Internet searches (and return-for-refund of one cheapo Behringer graphic equalizer that got far too hot every time*) I bought an expensive BSS 31-band graphic equalizer, which I was able to set up to do what I thought was a tolerable job of cutting down the various resonance peaks, even though the sound was clearly still not fully correct in the bass region. However, I was aware that it was a very blunt instrument and would be reducing a lot of frequencies that really shouldn't be reduced, and I didn't like having such a bulky and heavy piece of equipment anyway in my small hi-fi cabinet.

* Actually user reviews show clearly that Behringer equalizers and all too many of their other products have a poor reputation for reliability and longevity, and over-hot running is a common complaint about that make, so it makes sense not to be tempted by the relative cheapness and abundance of features of many relevant Behringer products.

Eventually I came up serendipitously with THE solution! Ditch the top-notch graphic (or parametric) equalizer, and now enter the real star of the show - the DSPeaker Anti-Mode 2.0 Dual Core. Sure, this small, unassuming-looking unit isn't cheap (it set me back £680), but this solves all the bass resonance problems at a stroke, and regardless of how much those problems are a speaker or room issue.

The Anti-Mode unit is connected between your audio source(s) and your amplifier or powered speakers. You carry out a calibration according to the simple instructions, using the included measurement microphone, and then the unit displays to you a graph of the bass frequency response of your speaker system in your particular listening environment (typically looking like the Alps!), together with a line showing the after-correction in-room frequency response (with all the peaks flattened out). It automatically applies that correction when you exit the menu. Actually it applies other corrections too, which improve the apparent timing of bass frequencies, and there is a huge range of further adjustments you can make from the menu system on the little display - though most or all of those would be more for satisfying personal taste and would in the majority of cases make the sound less accurate!

The result of running the initial 'typical room' calibration is truly staggering. Indeed initially many music lovers would hate it, because they are so conditioned to living with sound that is heavily adulterated in ways that they find pleasing. Without all that heaviness and 'clag' of exaggerated bass, recordings can initially sound 'sterile' and 'anaemic'. However, if you listen carefully you would find that for the first time you are hearing the actual bass that would have been heard in the recording session - at least, provided that your speaker system, with subwoofer if necessary, is reproducing those frequencies properly in the first place. However, that's only part of it. With the clag all dissolved, the whole soundscape sounds clearer, even in the treble, with much more detail at all levels. This is not the normal sort of transformation that would be noticeable only to dedicated audiophiles - it is a dramatic transformation that would immediately strike even the dullest TV-watching 'sheep' who has no notion of 'high fidelity'!

With this unit, for the first time I have been hearing my sea and other natural soundscape recordings as something closely approximating to the original experience. I cannot recommend it too strongly!

The red line is the in-room response before calibration, the
black line being the same with the resultant correction applied.

One tip, though. The best way of minimizing dips in the post-calibration bass frequency response curve, if you have a subwoofer, is NOT to use any dip-filling functionality of the Anti-Mode, but, to redo the calibration with the subwoofer volume turned up a couple of notches higher than what seems to be an accurate balance against the main speakers (provided of course that that would be an easy level for the subwoofer to cope with; the aim is NOT to cause distortion or indeed damage your equipment!). The Anti-Mode would flatten down the excess, but the low points would be higher, and so the overall result would be a much flatter curve, and with smaller or even no dips, and a more gradual roll-off at the bottom end - at least, if the subwoofer is any good to start with. See below...

The equivalent result in my room when I cranked
up the subwoofer to distinctly higher than an
obvious good balance with the mid / upper
frequencies before I carried out the new
calibration. The result is amazingly flat down to
almost 20Hz, and the remaining deep narrow dips
higher up would be cancellation nulls, which cannot
usefully or safely be corrected by equalization.
The bass sound with this setting is amazingly lifelike,
and 32' organ pipes now give that awesome shuddering
effect that one hears from large organs in real life
situations - yet audio material sounds clean and free from
excess bass (at least, after I'd set 'bass compensation'
to zero) and turned the subwoofer volume down again
just a little.

The MYTH of a single (mono) subwoofer being all one needs for the very low (non-locatable) frequencies in stereo recordings

The received 'wisdom' is that because of the considerable wavelength compared with the distance between our ears, we cannot locate the source of frequencies from about 80Hz downward without other cues to guide us - and because of this, supposedly, it is pointless having more than one subwoofer in an otherwise 'straight' stereo system. However, my own very careful listening to my own recordings as well as many commercial classical music recordings was causing me increasingly to doubt the validity of that widely held belief. The point is, what you actually hear in the original 'live' soundstage is much more subtle and interesting, for you get all sorts of interactions between low frequency soundwaves coming from different directions. These give the soundstage, whether natural or a live music performance, a vibrancy and sense of breadth / depth that is not fully re-created by the use of a single subwoofer, in which all really low frequency sound has been summed into mono.

Indeed, not only that, but I hear a sort of roughness or lumpiness in the 'monoed' very low frequency sounds, where in real life the sound was much smoother and more subtly and intricately varying. This makes perfect sense, because when you reduce all that very low frequency sound to mono, all phase differences between the channels are cancelled out, giving transient dips in the sound, where, in the original situation you would have heard beautifully subtle variations in the nature of the sound instead of many of the dips.

Also, there is another very practical and remarkably obvious factor that most people don't think about at all. Generally it is assumed that when you set your subwoofer 'crossover' point to 80Hz, that sub will then not be reproducing locatable frequencies, but actually that is seriously wrong. These 'crossover' filters are not 'brick walls' but slopes. Therefore, even if you set your subwoofer 'crossover' point to 50Hz or 40Hz, it will still be reproducing locatable frequencies (above 80Hz), but simply at reduced volume. A typical crossover slope for subwoofers is only 12dB per octave. It would be very difficult to have your subwoofer not audibly reproducing any locatable frequencies - at least, without causing problems in smooth integration of the sub's sound into the overall sound of the speaker setup.

That is not just an academic consideration. Rather, it explains nicely why I found that very low sounds (most of which do still contain some frequencies above 80Hz) were locatable to my single subwoofer when I played a mono recording of organ music. That effect would be there too in playing stereo recordings - that situation somewhat degrading the stereo image. That was the final straw, which persuaded me that it really would be worthwhile to buy a second subwoofer (of the same model) - and I haven't regretted doing do.

I do not at all mean here to discourage anyone from using a single, mono, subwoofer in a nominally stereo system if it isn't practical for them to use two, for, if really well configured, it would still bring about a great improvement in the overall sound as compared with no subwoofer. However, I do mean to encourage awareness that you would get still more engaging and inspiring sound (indeed, perish the thought, more accurate!) if you are able to take that further step and have two subwoofers, placed and wired for proper stereo operation. Another sound quality advantage would be that the labour would be shared by the two subs, so that for any given sound level each sub would be reproducing close to half the sound level that it would as a single mono unit, so that you would be much less likely to have the sound audibly degraded by distortion.

For a more detailed account of the situation, please see Ken Rockwell's excellent article.

Chronological List of recordings

(most recent dates first, but listings within a date are in normal order)


Colour codes

image Devon Sea and Cliffs
Cornwall Sea and Cliffs
Dartmoor area
image Sleep-assist*
Weather
Wind Chimes
* N.B. Many of the listed recordings would work well as healthy get-to-sleep aids for most people. The recordings flagged as 'sleep-assist' are special purpose ones, which are best NOT normally used by people who can get to sleep using other recordings listed here. These special purpose recordings readily cause drowsiness, and thus can be harmful / dangerous if listened to while driving or operating machinery.


 

For all more recent recordings, please go to
Broad Horizon Natural Soundscapes - Part 2


25 Mar 2016

Beeny Cliff, near Boscastle, Cornwall - deep cave booms
The primary reason for recording here yet again was to give a meaningful first test run for a new recorder - the Sony PCM-D100. This was in particular to test the recorder's up-to-100dB signal / noise ratio function in a rather brutal way that wouldn't demonstrate the s/n ratio but would show if that function enabled the recorder to handle strong peaks loaded with very low frequencies (many indeed completely inaudible, with energy peaks in the 10-12Hz range!).
  1. (This recording commences the second part of this list, as it was made by the PCM-D100.)
  2. On the top of the alcove, set back just sufficiently from the edge to be quite well shielded from the direct sound of the sea within the alcove. This was made by one of my old PCM-M10 recorders, set to the usual silly low level to keep the whole recording undistorted, and then normalized to a sensible level afterwards. - 34' (PCM-M10)

Please note that beyond this date I shall be aiming not to record at all with PCM-M10 recorders (or at least, not to keep any such recordings that I do make), as the D100 blows the M10 stereo image right out of the water, and embarrasses me in having thought, as so many others still do, that the M10's microphones were brilliant!

 

15 Mar 2016

By the coast path a little north of Chapel Porth, Cornwall - dramatic breaking of waves close to cliff base.
Between Chapel Porth and the iconic Towanroath engine house ruin, a little nearer the ruin than the 14 April 2015 recording here. This is high up, the coast path contouring the very steep slope and leading on towards St Agnes Head. Again the sea is up against the cliff base, but the tide is going out. For about the first 20 minutes, only a limited number of waves break, doing so near the cliff base so that instead of a hissy run-out sound you get a wonderful deep rumble as each wave goes out of direct earshot (because of the slope continuing down and then falling away as more or less vertical cliff), and has fairly violent altercations with the cliff. Beyond the first 20 minutes, the breaking of waves becomes more frequent, progressively commencing a little further and further out, thus with increasing tendency to the hissy standard run-out sound of standard surf on a beach. - 59'
 

25 Oct 2015


Droskyn Point, Perranporth, Cornwall; looking over alcove in the cliffs to the SSW - sea pandemonium with blowhole activity
This is the most frequent and consistent activity I've yet noticed from this blowhole, and it is a wonderful sound. - 40'
 

10 Oct 2015

Woods just above / slightly to north-east of St Loy's Cove, between Lamorna and Penberth, Penwith, Cornwall - gusts of stiff breeze in trees, with choppy sea in background
A wild and exhilarating autumn sound. The trees still had most of their leaves, but they were getting ready to fall and so were rather dry and rattly in the wind, and the odd leaves could be heard falling, sometimes with wind gusts rustling the already fallen dead leaves on the ground. There are some bird sounds. Curiously, most of what birds I myself heard there was goldcrests, apparently answering each other to-and-fro, but in the recording they are hardly heard and instead we hear mostly robins, with a blue tit noticed on at least one occasion, and the odd passing jackdaw; for a while there are distinctive calls from a bird whose identity I've yet to establish (I didn't see it, but rather suspect it is one of the tits). - 45'
 

6 Sep 2015

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Mussel Point, between St Ives and Zennor - grasshopper chorus, with sea background
An odd recording, with the sea sounding strange because actually the recorder was facing away from the sea far below, and towards small crag faces very close by in order to optimally pick up the very quiet grasshopper chorus there. Part of the sea sound is actually a reverberation off the crags, which results in a peculiar slightly dream-like coloration of the sound - but the grasshoppers sound perfectly down-to-earth. - 78' -- CD - Gentle Grasshopper Chorus Above Wild Sea Cove
 

18 Aug 2015

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Between St Ives and Zennor, Cornwall - gentle sea with distant seals, bird calls, and grasshoppers
At last some seals have relented on their previous embargo upon 'performing' whenever I'm aiming to record them! They make eerie wavering moaning sounds, and make for really 'atmospheric' recordings when heard at a distance.

I took it as 'read' that the seal sounds were coming from seals on The Carracks ('Seal Island'), as I'd assumed they were on all the previous occasions when I'd heard them when I'd been passing through on various hikes (and everyone else there thought likewise). However, I have established that the sounds could not possibly have been coming from there, at least on this occasion, for they were coming from the left in all this day's recordings, which would have meant Economy Cove for 1.1 and 1.2 and probably 2, and Mussel Point for 3.
  1. Opposite The Carracks ('Seal Island'). The recording session here had to be cut short because a family group arrived and the children went playing about on the rocks and in the sea, making the sorts of sounds that children make when they get a chance!
    1. Lower position, more shielded from the sea sound. This captures the seals particularly clearly and prominently. - 19'
    2. Higher position, with more prominent sea sound. The seal sounds are much more buried in the sea sound, but this is still very 'atmospheric'. Later in the recording we hear calls of linnet and then rock pipit flitting around. - 14'
  2. On clifftop directly overlooking Economy Cove, where the pulsing blowhole is. Thanks to the very small swell, the blowhole itself was inactive, but surprisingly, the cave system associated with the blowhole was giving frequent gentle booms, though these decreased progressively as the tide went out. Distant seals (on The Carracks) can be heard at times, mostly in the second half of the recording, and intermittent very gentle singing of grasshoppers adds foreground interest. - 68' -- CD - Gentle Sea with Cave Booms, Grasshoppers and Seals - Economy Cove
  3. Mussel Point, on a rock prominence where I hadn't recorded before, whose position gives it very considerable shielding from direct sea sound - at least, with as small a swell as occurred on this occasion. This enabled the seals to be heard much more strongly than in the Economy Cove recording, and also gave prominence to the wonderful atmospheric calls from a flock of curlews that periodically flew past in one direction or the other, plus the invigorating calls of oystercatchers.
    This was actually a salvage operation, not only because of the many disturbances that required all the recordings to have cuts that amounted to approaching half the respective recordings' durations, but also because a rare malfunction of the particular recorder struck, and the left channel had almost no sound, except for about the central third, which appeared to be okay; what we have here is the edited version of that central chunk. - 23'

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8 Aug 2015

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Beeny Cliff, near Boscastle, Cornwall - gentle sea with cave rumbles and booms, and grasshoppers
These two recordings, although sounding great in their own ways, don't add anything significant to what I've already got (see further Beeny Cliff sessions further below), except that the second has an ensemble of grasshoppers gradually becoming active. My primary aim on this occasion was to record the odd clifftop grasshopper chorus, and I did get it in part.
  1. A bit down the south side of the alcove, but with back to the sea 'action' and cave entrances, to try to de-emphasize the direct sea sound while still capturing the booms and any grasshoppers reasonably. In the event only one grasshopper occasionally 'sang', and the direct sea sound heard from behind actually sounds as though in front but with a degraded stereo image. The recording still sounds great, but, in view of the recordings I already have, I'm not sure whether I shall use this one, especially seeing that it doesn't have the sought-for grasshopper chorus. - 79'
  2. At about mid-point along top of alcove, slightly back from cliff edge. The rumbles / booms really are mostly very quiet, and they will not be heard on many people's equipment because of their being mostly very low frequency. These recordings were over the midday period, and presumably the grasshoppers were responding to the rising temperature in the continuous sunshine. The first insect interest in this recording is actually not a grasshopper but a very persistent bumblebee, which seems to become accompanied by another. The first grasshopper 'song' (solo) is not immediate, and seems very tentative. Very gradually the occasional 'singing' becomes more frequent and the number of participants increases, till late in the recording on a few occasions we seem to have almost a chorus. The sound of these, however, is nothing like the unremitting strident sound of grasshoppers / crickets in many warmer countries; it is a gentle and pleasant sound, with many pauses and changes of the character of their sound. - 67' -- CD - Beeny Cliff (8) - Gentle Cave Booms with Bumblebees & Grasshoppers

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1 Jul 2015

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By River Teign, immediately upstream of Teign Gorge, Drewsteignton, Devon - River Teign, pre-dawn, and dawn chorus
  1. Two recordings of the River Teign made at different positions, now spliced together. They were actually cut from the pre-dawn-chorus section of each of my pair of dawn chorus recordings made that day - 78' (compilation for CD). A great sleep-assist album! -- CD - River Teign upstream of Teign Gorge, pre-dawn
  2. Two dawn chorus recordings, made from the same positions as the above pair of River Teign recordings. This is actually a salvage job, because I had a pair of nice long dawn chorus recordings with some really nice sound, but in both cases wrens came to dominate the show and made the listening experience tedious and even stressful. Initially I discarded these recordings because of that, but then restored them from a backup and tried cutting off the whole later part of each, so that they were reduced from about 1½ hours each to just one full CD's worth when put together. Although this is not at all what I was originally aiming for, it does seem to work well and captures really beautiful soundscapes. We miss out, therefore, on the worst excesses of the wrens, but the down-side is that we also miss almost all of the crow family (carrion crow, jackdaw, rook and raven), which all came in late in the full recordings.
        The recorder positions were both on top of fence posts beside the River Teign, bounding the very large hillside field immediately upstream from the Teign Gorge. They were both facing into the field (and thus facing its copses and the line of trees forming its top boundary), with the river and its rather enclosing trees behind them. The distance between the recorders was sufficient that very little bird sound close to one would be noticed on the other (though a reasonably loud bird halfway between could in some cases be heard quietly by both). So, for practical purposes these are different soundscapes and not just different perspectives on the same one.
        Both recordings have the River Teign as a background - actually a slightly stronger sound than I was really intending (i.e., for balance with the birds), but it still sounds great. The background hiss, especially in the more upstream recording, is not a recording problem but actually a gentle reverberation of the higher frequencies from the water sound, coming off the tree foliage fairly closely around and overhanging the river.
    1. Towards the upstream end of the field. As well as the bird chorus and the odd distant farm animal, there are quite frequent more or less close fly-overs of a pair of bats. These latter will be heard only by young people - generally in their teens at most - and then only if their speakers / headphones reproduce frequencies up to 21kHz in all their fullness. The edited recording as presented here starts with an agitated pheasant and some distant tawny owl calls, and fades out with the squeaky-wheel-like song of a goldcrest. - 38' -- CD - Dawn Choruses by River Teign by Teign Gorge
    2. Near the downstream end of the field. - 39' -- CD - Dawn Choruses by River Teign by Teign Gorge

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24 Jun 2015

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Cot Valley, south-east of Cape Cornwall, Cornwall - overnight session: Manx Shearwaters and dawn chorus
  1. By coast path a little south of mouth of Cot Valley - Manx Shearwaters. I had hoped for a quieter sea than in my relatively close recordings of Manx Shearwaters last year, but that was not to be. However, I applied my experience from those two occasions, and also had the good fortune to have an absence of noticeable rumble from distant shipping until towards the end of these recordings - by which time there was little audible activity from the birds anyway, and the recordings were much longer than would fill a CD, so I had no problem about cutting off the later part of the recordings, leaving just a little of the rumble just coming in unobtrusively toward the end of each edited recording.
    1. Same spot as on 30 June 2014, but on a tiny mini-tripod, so bringing the recorder really close to the ground, so further muffling the sea sound as compared with that recording. For this reason, although the sea was still really too loud for this purpose, this recording does capture more (distant) Manx Shearwater activity than the previous recording did, and the general detail and definition of the birds' sounds is much better, also with some spectacular unplanned but eerily accurate directional effects, where, with a really wide stereo separation and particularly good stereo imaging, particular birds are heard to be flying in various directions above the listener exactly as I heard them 'in the flesh'. I have not had this effect before; it must be caused by the recorder placement already described.
          Edited recording starts c. 12.20 a.m. BST - 77' (reduced from 110') -- CD - Peaceful Sea at Night, with the 'Devil Bird' (2: Close-up) (to replace the album containing the 30 June 2014 recording)
    2. A bit further south-east and higher up, on a branch of the coast path below Carn Leskys, the recorder set up on a a Zipshot Mini tripod (actually what I'd call 'midi' size) on an exposed rock prominence, which, despite its exposure, did shield the recorder somewhat from the direct sea sound. In this case much of the Manx Shearwater activity was too far below to be heard significantly against the volume of the sea sound, but occasional birds did come closer, with two encounters sounding particularly spectacular. I made a short extract (some 10') from this recording to give a summary of the most spectacular Manx Shearwater events.
          This recording could be regarded as too short of bird sound for an actual Manx Shearwater recording, but on the other hand I rate it highly as a recording of the sea at night with the birds often chuntering away near the limit of audibility in the sea sound and once in a while coming more to the fore. From that perspective it makes a beautiful listen, with a decidedly 'nocturnal' sound to the sea. Not everyone would really want to be listening for a long time to wall-to-wall, unremitting sound of 'Manxies'!
          Recording starts c. 12.40 a.m. BST - 77' (reduced from 110') -- CD - Night Sea, with the 'Devil Bird'
  2. Dawn chorus in the Cot Valley, south side, on the highest track, a little way inland, fairly well down the track where it is descending inland towards the little road, but still well out in the open. The recorder faces across the valley, having a more or less distant but very, very expansive perspective on the valley's dawn chorus, with the sea in Porth Nanven clearly audible to the left. A constant more spread-out gentle hiss is actually NOT a problem with the recording, but the small stream that runs down the valley. Whereas in the actual location I heard that sound as clearly coming from the stream bed down below, an ordinary stereo recording / playback cannot locate the sound in that way, so unfortunately it comes mixed up in all the other sounds and thus appears to be just the background hiss of a poor recording!
        Unusually in my experience, blackbirds started off at kick-off time, instead of waiting another half-hour before coming in. And they give us a great treat, albeit at a great distance. The tentative beginning of the chorus soon expanded so that I was hearing a continuous murmuring of distant blackbirds in all directions, including not only the valley bottom and slopes but also the fields on the high ground either side of the valley - though of course the ordinary stereo recording could not capture even half of the detail and sheer magnificence of the blackbird chorus that I heard there. Another little 'unfortunately' is that the bird that kindly came to sing in the foreground then was not a blackbird (which latter was what I so much wanted!), but a cantankerous, scratchy-sounding Whitethroat. That wouldn't have mattered in moderation, as the blackbirds are still easily heard between the whitethroat's short phrases, but it went on and on, with some partial lapses, for some 26 minutes before standing down to let others have their say without interruption! Other birds heard include song thrush, wren, robin, chaffinch, chiffchaff, goldfinch, dunnock (I think), woodpigeon, the inevitable carrion crow, and a transient teasing hint of a chough.
        On a subsequent listening to this recording, I have warmed to it, not finding the whitethroat anything like so tiresome, and generally being better able to hear the blackbirds and other bird sounds in the background.
        The edited recording starts at about 4.00 a.m. BST, giving a little pre-dawn-chorus lead-in time. - 126' -- CD - Dawn Chorus in the Cot Valley - From South Side

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15-16 Jun 2015

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A real celebration of birds, with a wonderful reverberant acoustic - Evening Chorus - Dawn Chorus
Branscombe Landslip, between Branscombe Mouth and Beer Head, Devon - two wonderful evening choruses and then dawn choruses, with a backdrop of the distant sea on shingle beach, with its echoes on the cliffs towering above.

  1. At west end of Landslip, where it joins the Hooken undercliff; recorder placed on low branch, facing towering east end of Hooken Cliff. The sea sound originates from well round on the left, but the echo of each wave breaking and drawback (including the hissy aspect of the sea sound, which is not heard directly) spreads along the cliff from left to right.
    1. Evening chorus, with the cluckings of fulmars on high cliff ledges - 103' -- CD (pair) - Birds' Evening Chorus, Branscombe Landslip (west end)
    2. Continuation of the sea sound with cliff echoes after the chorus had packed up. More or less distant seagulls are still heard at times, though gradually quietening down to almost nothing. - 74' -- CD - Early Night in Branscombe Landslip - Sea and Cliff Echoes
    3. Pre-dawn-chorus sea sound with cliff echoes. - 68' -- CD - Pre-Dawn in Branscombe Landslip - Sea and Cliff Echoes
    4. Dawn chorus, including a pre-dawn-chorus lead-in. - 147' (+6dB)*  -- CD (pair) - Dawn Chorus, Branscombe Landslip (west end)
  2. About five minutes' walk further east into the landslip, but still relatively low in it, in the lower, well wooded area; recorder beside coast path, on relatively tall tripod. The sea sound distinct but very quiet, with the echoes off the cliff not easy to discern, though they do add a general spaciousness to the sound.
    1. Evening chorus; recorder facing west, towards the sea, parallel to the coast path there. - 101' -- CD (pair) - Birds' Evening Chorus, Branscombe Landslip (woodland clearing)
    2. Dawn chorus, including a pre-dawn-chorus lead-in; recorder facing the towering cliff, with sea sounds coming from left. Many birds sang lower down and thus closer to the recorder than in the evening. Although some of them are thus at times a bit over-loud, the plus side is that you hear extraordinary inner detail, especially in the song thrush's song - 137' (+6dB)* -- CD (pair) - Dawn Chorus, Branscombe Landslip (woodland clearing)
* Because of the dynamic range involved, for reasonably realistic sound level the above recordings need to be played, where shown, at the indicated dB levels above my own normal playback level (correct for reasonably realistic reproduction of well recorded classical music for full symphony orchestra) - but that advice does NOT apply to people who routinely play their audio at unduly loud levels (equipment damage could result), or whose amplifier is already over-stretched!

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3 Jun 2015

St Agnes Head, St Agnes, Cornwall, and overlooking Hanover Cove, between Trevaunance Cove and Perranporth - moderately thundering breakers.
  1. On St Agnes Head, well down, on the lowest main set of crags, facing NNE (to right, as you look down the spur) - waves hitting large rocks and rugged cliff. - 41'
  2. Overlooking Hanover Cove from clifftop by small disused quarry - surf breakers thundering as they break, with some deep whoomphs as the waves or their run-out hit large rocks and send up eruptions of spray. - 48'
 

11 May 2015

By Droskyn Point, Perranporth, Cornwall  (to south-west of it) - moderately thundering surf coming in.
  1. Facing out to sea, with Droskyn Point to right and breaking waves coming in obliquely from left. In a few places, especially later on, just a hint of a skylark behind the recorder can be heard, and towards the end we briefly get a few calls from a kestrel, which perched briefly on a cliff buttress to left, just a little way down on its rocky spur. - 71'
  2. Made concurrently with later part of above recording, just a little landward of the coast path and facing up the hill and thus away from the sea, so it was supposed to catch much more clearly the skylark singing in that direction. In fact it captured remarkably little of that, though it did get some, plus the odd linnets too. In any case the surf sound is lovely in its own right, for it is subdued, with much reduced hissiness and increased gentle thundering sound; it's the sort of sound you would hear there if you were having a rest or eating stop there, just that bit back from the cliff edge. - 34'
 

14 Apr 2015

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Chapel Porth to Perranporth, Cornwall - three more striking recordings.
  1. Between Chapel Porth and the iconic Towanroath engine house ruin, overlooking an alcove in the lower cliff slope, which the OS map marks as having a cave there. A substantial 'moderate' swell, with tide high, so the waves are mostly not breaking, and we hear a continual gentle rippling and swashing sound, but with the most exquisite continual subterranean-feeling gentle deep reverberant rumbling, with the odd deep booms, which briefly intensifies as larger waves come in. On a few occasions a larger wave does break before meeting the cliff, and that sound is really dramatic. A peaceful and, in a way, soothing soundscape, but with a delicious feeling of menace. - 39'
  2. On the tip of the Shag Rock headland, near Perranporth. Blowhole activity rather leisurely, with only occasional really loud whoomphs, though still quite a lot of minor activity, so there is constant interest.
    1. Exactly same position as the first recording listed for there on 15 March. On small bare rock platform area set back a little from the cliff edges above the blowhole activity, so this recording is shielded from direct sound from the blowhole and other sea dramatics close by. This is the sort of soundscape that anglers who come down here would experience while not attending to their lines right there on the cliff edge. It's a strangely peaceful soundscape but always with a feel of slight menace. The blowhole sounds almost subterranean from here, the sea otherwise being relatively quiet, though with superficial ripplings.
      The swell is not as large as on that previous occasion, and the strange breathing-like hiss to the left occurs only on a few occasions - or rather, most of the time it was too quiet to hear unless you listened into the cleft that houses the hissing fissure. On three occasions a skylark is briefly heard. - 52' (+3dB*) -- (part) - Eerie Vigil with Shag Rock Blowhole
    2. From a new position that I've wanted to try for some time, but it is so exposed that there are not many occasions when it is really sensible to attempt recording there. It's a really exposed little ledge on the absolute tip of the headland, a little lower down, and directly facing the ejections of two of the three blowhole vents. One of the latter is visible, ejecting in this direction, but is generally the least powerful and makes little sound, but all the ejections, including the weaker ones from the subsidiary vents, are heard from here with much greater clarity than in any of my other recordings of that blowhole, sounding quite disturbingly lifelike (i.e., with really good listening equipment)! - 45' (+9dB*)
* Because of the dynamic range involved, for reasonably realistic sound level the above recordings need to be played, where shown, at the indicated dB levels above my own normal playback level (correct for reasonably realistic reproduction of well recorded classical music for full symphony orchestra) - but that advice does NOT apply to people who routinely play their audio at unduly loud levels (equipment damage could result), or whose amplifier is already over-stretched!

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21 Mar 2015

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Boscastle and Pentargon sea dramatics again, but with swell a bit less than on 10 March, though still reasonably substantial, and the tide more or less out (spring tide) for the Pentargon recordings.
  1. Pentargon, north headland:
    1. Well down on headland and round to the right, facing across the alcove harbouring Beeny Cliff's most southern cave - the latter to right and waves coming in from left. Similar to the 10 March recording here (highly dramatic pandemonium), but a little less loud and violent. - 60'
    2. On top of the headland's uppermost prominence, by the coast path, giving a fairly remote grandstand panorama of the Pentargon surf. Because low frequencies travel further than high frequencies, the sea panorama is relatively quiet, but frequent very deep booms from the most landward of the facing line of cliffs the other side of the inlet stand out relatively clearly - though most listeners would hear few if any because only particularly good listening equipment would reproduce frequencies in the region of 20Hz down to 10Hz reasonably well. - 64'
    3. Low down, virtually at the tip of the headland, but on its relatively low southern clifftop, facing across the mouth of Pentargon cove - a much closer panorama of the breakers coming in from the right and breaking more or less in the centre. The cave booms from the facing cliffs are mostly difficult to hear, even with suitable listening equipment, because they are masked by a fairly gentle thundering of the breakers. - 40'
  2. Boscastle Harbour, opposite the blowhole.
    For the first time I recorded the blowhole from this position, and it sounds quite a bit different from in my recordings from the cliff slope above it. Because it was spring tide conditions, the blowhole's activity was quite brief this time, though this didn't matter for current purposes because this recording fits well with the blowhole recording of 10 March to fill a CD. - 29' -- CD - Boscastle Harbour and Blowhole (to replace the extant two Boscastle blowhole CDs, for the new recordings are better).

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15 Mar 2015

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Sea dramatics spectaculars near Perranporth, Cornwall: above Hanover Cove, the Shag Rock headland, and by Droskyn Point.
Substantial swell, and tide fairly high.
  1. Overlooking Hanover Cove, from clifftop by small disused quarry between Trevellas Porth and Cligga Head, facing out to sea - surf really, seriously thundering in! - 48'
  2. Shag Rock headland, down on its tip area; the blowhole active.
    1. On small bare rock platform area set back a little from the cliff edges above the blowhole activity, so this recording is shielded from direct sound from the blowhole and other sea dramatics close by. This is the sort of soundscape that anglers who come down here would experience while not attending to their lines right there on the cliff edge. It's a strangely peaceful soundscape but always with a feel of slight menace. The blowhole sounds almost subterranean from here, the sea otherwise being relatively quiet, though with superficial ripplings, and various generally rather quiet very deep thuds and rumbles are frequently heard / felt (only with listening equipment reproducing very low frequencies well), actually originating from just round the headland tip - see next item here. One most extraordinary thing about this soundscape is a strange short breathing-like hiss that emanates from down in a cleft in the rock to the left each time the blowhole sounds (more or less to the right), giving it all a really eerie feel. - 65' (+3dB*) -- CD - Eerie Vigil with Shag Rock Blowhole
    2. On cliff ledge round more to the SW side of the tip, largely shielded from the blowhole sound (heard at times but only fairly quiet), but exposed to loud sound of impacts of waves on the main line of cliff and in the angle between it and this headland; these impacts were often throwing up plumes or masses of spray to clifftop height. - 67' (+9dB*) -- CD - Sea Dramatics at Shag Rock (6a)
  3. Droskyn Point, from clifftop to the south-west just before the cliff alcove that marks the beginning of the Droskyn Point cliffs:
    1. Facing out to sea and along the Droskyn Point cliffs - waves passing from left to right, some starting to break thunderously as they pass by.  Various deep booms are heard, generally fairly quiet. These are actually fairly strong booms in the nearby cliff alcove. - 41' (+7dB*) -- CD - Sea Dramatics at Droskyn Point, Perranporth (1)
    2. Facing across the cliff alcove, thus with open sea to the left, and waves coming from that direction, and the Droskyn Point cliffs a bit left of centre, and a sea pandemonium going on down below in the alcove, with many quite strong very deep booms. - 41' (+3dB*) -- CD - Sea Dramatics at Droskyn Point, Perranporth (2)
* Because of the dynamic range involved, for reasonably realistic sound level the above recordings need to be played, where shown, at the indicated dB levels above my own normal playback level (correct for reasonably realistic reproduction of well recorded classical music for full symphony orchestra) - but that advice does NOT apply to people who routinely play their audio at unduly loud levels (equipment damage could result), or whose amplifier is already over-stretched!

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10 Mar 2015

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Magnificent Boscastle (area) sea dramatics spectacular, with substantial swell! Beeny Cliff deep cave boomings & pandemonium, Pentargon sea dramatics with cave pandemonium, and Boscastle blowhole and its seaward aspect (my best recordings of those yet). Over 8 hours of recording (as usual, using 2 recorders)!
  1. Beeny Cliff - alcove where the coast path goes a little bit up and around to avoid the cliff edge; very, very deep booms and rumbles from the sea far within a particularly large and deep cave system:
    1. From top of fence post just above the coast path by the south end of the alcove, and so shielded from the loudest direct sea sound. A wonderful fairly quiet sea sound, with an ongoing quiet rumbling and very deep booms. Apart from the odd herring gull, one bird that shows up during the middle of the recording is a stonechat, with its distinctive alarm calls, though there is another bird that I haven't yet identified. - 38' -- CD - Beeny Cliff (6) - Deep Rumbles & Booms, from Coast Path
    2. The same, above the north end of the alcove. This is rather more shielded from the 'action' in the alcove, and is facing the distant cliffs towards and including Penally Hill, so that the distant sea action there is a significant part of this soundscape. The rumbling and booms are thus quieter than in 1. The bird calls are mostly or all rock pipit. -59' -- (part) CD - Beeny Cliff (6) - Deep Rumbles & Booms, from Coast Path
    3. A little way down the south side of the alcove - the same spot as for previous recordings here, but this time using a full-size Zipshot tripod and thus more exposed to the direct sea sound. This, therefore, is not another attempt to record the booms specifically, but intentionally captures the totality of the powerful and loud sea dramatics here. The sea writhes and battles not only against the cliff, but against itself as powerful rebound waves surge out of the caves, only to hit incoming waves and indeed a cliff buttress inconsiderately standing in the way, causing further reverberating booms and whoomphs with big eruptions of spray. - 123' (+6dB*) -- (part) CD - Beeny Cliff (7) - Powerful Sea Dramatics & Cave Booms
  2. Pentargon, quite well down on north headland:
    1. From a slight craggy prominence, facing south, i.e., to left as one looks down the headland, and thus across the mouth of the Pentargon cove. Breakers (rather distant) are constantly rolling in from the right, into the cove, the larger ones really thundering - their far ends hitting the facing cliffs beyond, sometimes booming in caves there and also sending up big plumes of spray.
      However, that's only part of the soundscape, because round to the right / behind in the recording you also periodically hear deep rumbles and booms from quite violent sea action in the mouth of a cave hidden by that very crag.
      Periodically, especially when things are a bit quieter, you can just hear the raucous stilted Punch-and-Judy-style laughing calls of a distant group of guillemots on the facing cliff the other side of the cove. About 20' into the recording we hear the much more distinct sound of a group of oystercatchers having a noisy flyabout. - 91' -- (part) CD - Sea Dramatics at Pentargon - Grandstand View
    2. Similar, but lower down - actually exactly where I'd been having my lunch. There, it was closer to the rumbles and booms from the hidden sea dramatics to the right just round the crag. This time the recorder faces out to sea, so that the Pentargon cove breakers are thundering by on the left, while the (stronger) rumbles and booms from the nearby hidden sea dramatics are ahead and to the right. You can still hear the distant guillemots at times. - 48' -- (part) CD - Sea Dramatics at Pentargon - Cave Pandemonium!
    3. Pandemonium time! A little further down and round on the rocks, to the right, and now looking into the southernmost cave of Beeny Cliff, and closely witnessing a monstrous succession of loud sea dramatics, with larger waves thundering in from the left, causing powerful rebound waves out of the cave, which then hit further incoming waves and cause loud eruptions of spray, with impressive splashdown sounds. In the close foreground there is a very pleasant quiet trickling of, yes, a little trickle of run-off water; the tripod is standing almost in it. - 51' (+3dB*) -- CD - Sea Dramatics at Pentargon - Cave Pandemonium!
  3. The 'neck' of Penally Point, Boscastle Harbour, for the blowhole and its seaward aspect:
    1. As close as I could safely put the recorder down the cliff slope, over the Boscastle blowhole. After many of the booms and thuds you can hear the splashdown from the low-angle jet of spray. - 48' (+6dB*) -- CD - Boscastle Harbour and Blowhole (to replace the extant two Boscastle blowhole CDs, for the new recordings are better).
    2. On the seaward side, on a slightly precarious cliff ledge, facing the seaward aspect of the blowhole - i.e., looking along the cliff rather than facing out to sea. Quite a sea pandemonium, with many booms and whoomphs. - 41' -- To be used in a new CD to replace the extant Boscastle Blowhole - Seaward Aspect album (additional recording awaited).
* Because of the dynamic range involved, for reasonably realistic sound level the above recordings need to be played, where shown, at the indicated dB levels above my own normal playback level (correct for reasonably realistic reproduction of well recorded classical music for full symphony orchestra) - but that advice does NOT apply to people who routinely play their audio at unduly loud levels (equipment damage could result)!

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7 Mar 2015

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Looking closely across to the Droskyn Point headland, Perranporth, Cornwall, from cliff edge near the coast path to the south-west. A fairly large swell, with thundering and fulminating breakers, and blowhole activity.
On clifftop to the south-west just before the cliff alcove that marks the beginning of the Droskyn Point cliffs:
  1. Looking seaward, and thus along the Droskyn Point cliffs. only the bigger waves are breaking here, and the largest of them collapse very loudly, sometimes with real heavy bangs, particularly where two parts of a wave are converging and collapse as they collide. Indeed, all the heavy sounds heard directly from the sea are from the breaking of waves before hitting anything solid. The run-out from many of these waves sends big plumes of spray shooting up on hitting the Droskyn Point cliffs, but the sound from that isn't really noticeable. However, at just past 24' there start quite frequent very nice deep booms from the very nearby cliff alcove. - 42' (+6dB*) -- CD - Sea Dramatics at Droskyn Point, Perranporth (1)
  2. On the cliff edge, looking across the narrow cliff alcove; open sea is on the left, where just occasionally a thundering / fulminating breaker is heard, but the main interest here is the constant loud pandemonium down below in the alcove. I see three small cave entrances at the bottom, the middle one being very narrow - a vertical slit - and it is from this that blowhole-type ejections of spray are occurring, accompanied by deep whoomphs and booms. - 17' (+3dB*) -- CD - Sea Dramatics at Droskyn Point, Perranporth (2)
* Because of the dynamic range involved, for reasonably realistic sound level the above recordings need to be played at the indicated dB levels above my own normal playback level (correct for reasonably realistic reproduction of well recorded classical music for full symphony orchestra) - but that advice does NOT apply to people who routinely play their audio at unduly loud levels (equipment damage could result)!
 

29 Nov 2014

By and on the Shag Rock headland near Perranporth (yet again!). A fairly large swell gives quite spectacular sound, but with the tide too low for the blowhole to be sounding.
Both recordings finish at dusk.
  1. On the vegetated low drystone wall running down the very steep grassy cliff slope below the coast path, facing out to sea, with the Shag Rock headland on the right. Larger waves periodically come thundering, roaring and fulminating before hitting the rugged and undercut cliffs below and thus causing a lot of booms, thuds and very deep rumbles. - 71'
  2. On the tip of the Shag Rock headland, obliquely facing the cliffs extending from really close-by (to left) to Cligga Head. We are thus getting a closer, full frontal, perspective on what was really going on at the foot of the cliffs below in recording 1., when one just heard deep thuds and rumbles. We hear the breakers coming in from the right, and usually hitting the cliff further away first (more or less in centre), then causing great plumes of spray, often almost the height of the cliff face itself, to occur progressively closer and more to the left, where latter we hear most strongly the thuds and following splash-downs as the already broken waves channel into clefts and small caves close by. - 49' -- planned CD - Sea Dramatics at Shag Rock (6b)
Because of the dynamic range involved, recording 1 really needs to be listened to at 3dB louder, and recording 2 at 6dB or even 9dB louder, than my own normal playback level (correct for reasonably realistic reproduction of well recorded classical music for full symphony orchestra) - but that advice does NOT apply to people who routinely play their audio at unduly loud levels (equipment damage could result)!
 

24 Nov 2014

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St Agnes Head, St Agnes, Cornwall - two spacious and complex sea panoramas with a lovely and invigorating sound, and on the tip of the Shag Rock headland near Perranporth (yet again! ), with two quite different recordings of the powerful blowhole close-up.
  1. St Agnes Head, well down on the very steep spur, quite closely overlooking the low craggy tip of the headland (the first time I had ventured down there), facing out to sea, over the tip of the headland, but with sea breaking not only on it but also on outlying large rocks some distance to right and, usually most loudly, in a slight cove to the left (bounded by the other, more sheer, headland that appears to be included in the appellation 'St Agnes Head'.
    1. Higher position, with a more distant sea sound - a particularly spacious soundscape with a real 'grandstand view' feel to it. - 50'
    2. A little further down that spur, on the crag just before the final dip (very precarious but used by anglers of non-nervous disposition) before the outlying crag that forms the actual tip of the headland. Again, facing that crag, so with different sea action to left and to right (loudest to left), also periodically with the sea also coming breaking around the headland crag straight ahead (though the recorder was shielded from the direct sea sound at centre) - but here the sea sound is stronger and much more up-front. - 45'
  2. On the tip of the Shag Rock headland near Perranporth, right above the blowhole.
    1. A little back from the cliff edge and so shielded from the direct sound from all the noisy sea 'action' there. This is a wonderful 'atmospheric' soundscape - what you tend to hear there, for example, if you're an angler there and having a comfortable sit or even lie-down while awaiting some sign that you've got a 'bite'. There is a gentle sound of distant sea 'action' all round, and quiet ripplings of the sea surface can be heard close at hand, but the whole assortment of rumblings, booms and roaring whoomphs sound all deep and indeed subterranean. I would have made this a full-CD recording, except that gathering darkness put a time limit on the session! - 47'
    2. A concurrent recording from a cliff-edge crag top directly overlooking the blowhole from the same spot as the 11 January 2014 recording I made there, with the sea 'action' quite up-front and some really loud roaring whoomphs from the blowhole - though overall it was less strongly active and loud than in that January recording (slightly smaller swell). - 48' -- CD - Sea Dramatics at Shag Rock (4)
      Because of the dynamic range involved, this recording (only) really needs to be listened to at 9dB louder than my own normal playback level (correct for reasonably realistic reproduction of well recorded classical music for full symphony orchestra) - but that advice does NOT apply to people who routinely play their audio at unduly loud levels!
 

5 Nov 2014

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Beautiful sea sound patterns from clifftops east of Sidmouth, Devon, with some birds.
Greatly peaceful and relaxing, yet full of interest! Two recordings from quite high clifftops, of basically the same phenomenon. In each, the breaking of waves is loudest at two well separated spots on the beach below, so that we get a constantly changing pattern of the wave breakings / drawbacks getting more into or out of step with each other. Because of the nature of these beaches, being shingle, the breaking and drawback sounds give a strong impression of a breathing of the landscape, and here, in each recording, we have a most beautiful interplay of two out-of-sync 'breathing' patterns. A wide stereo separation in your playback system is required to get the best of these recordings.
I was surprised at how much bird sound I was getting, seeing that it was November. The robin is the main bird to be actually singing at times, as distinct from just giving contact or alarm calls.
  1. From clifftop part-way down the coast path descent from Salcombe Cliff into the Salcombe valley. The recorder is facing obliquely seaward and to the left, i.e., over Salcombe Mouth. The main wave-breaking sounds are from (a) immediately below (a bit right of centre), hidden by the cliff and so rather muffled, and (b) around and a little beyond Salcombe Mouth (left). - 38' -- CD - Wave Sound Patterns on East Devon Beaches (with Birds)
  2. From the seaward side of the Branscombe Humps, a little way west of Branscombe Mouth, near Beer. The recorder is facing seaward; one location of louder wave breakings is a little right of centre in the recording, while a usually slightly louder centre of the same activity is more distinctly to the left. Here and there one may notice transient quiet intrusions of a very low hum. This doesn't appear to be from aircraft (as a result of which latter I'd had to cut out close to ¾ of the original version of this recording, which ran for almost 2 hours to allow for all those disturbances!), but is presumably from farm machinery in the vicinity of Branscombe Village, just the other side of the Branscombe Humps here. When I returned to the landward side of the Humps to regain the coast path after finishing the recording, I was amazed at how much farm machinery noise was going on, and how effective the relatively small 'hump' had been in shielding me from all that commotion. - 38' -- CD - Wave Sound Patterns on East Devon Beaches (with Birds)

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28 Sep 2014

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Third time lucky - Alleluia!
Tregerthen Cliff, near Zennor, Cornwall - spectacular close-up recordings of sea loudly booming in cave system at end of narrow cleft in the rock 'apron' on SW side of Tregerthen Cliff.
A particularly big dynamic range in all this day's recordings! Indeed, this was my third attempt to record this (i.e., with the booming going at full blast); on the previous two occasions I thought I had set the recording level low enough (lower on the second occasion) and still I found I'd been getting overloading distortion of many of the booms. This time I took several minutes at the beginning of each recording to carefully watch the peak level figures on the respective recorder's display, to ensure that even the really loud booms were not reading higher than about -9dB.
With the processed, edited files afterwards, normalized to 100%, for something like a realistic sound level I still needed to set my playback volume 12dB higher than my regular level. Caution! If your regular volume level is not at a sensibly modest level, or your particular system otherwise simply lacks enough reserve power, that big amount of extra volume could quite possibly damage your speakers / amplifier - especially in the light of the big loading of very low frequencies in the big peaks, so great caution is required if one is going to try turning the volume up.
Because of this issue, I am putting a prominent warning on the respective CDs that I am making from these recordings.
  1. At edge of cleft, looking straight across it, overlooking wild and often violent sea action - the sea writhing and slopping about in the narrow channel, and frequently surging in to give very loud booms in the cave at the end (to left), often with violent spray ejections. - 99' -- (part) CD - Sea Loudly Booming in cave, Tregerthen Cliff, Zennor - Close-Up
  2. Similarly positioned but a bit more seaward (and thus also lower); although slightly further from the booming cave, this recorder actually got the loudest and most up-front sound here, because of something of a megaphone effect of that cleft and the cave at the end. Indeed, not only the booms are louder, but it is also most exposed here to the roaring / thundering / hissing of the quite large waves as they come really close as they break and crash their way into this cleft. - 24' -- CD - Sea Loudly Booming in cave, Tregerthen Cliff, Zennor - Close-Up
  3. A few metres back from the cleft edge, and in a more up-standing position, getting more of a general panorama of the sea dramatics here, with large waves breaking against various outlying rocks and outcrops and going bananas in nearby minor cliff alcoves as well as this cleft; the booms from the latter, therefore, while still very loud, are less up-front, generally deeper sounding, and better blended with the rest of the sea sound. The recorder is still facing across the cleft, so that the booms are coming from the left. - 66' -- CD - Loud Sea Booming in cave at Tregerthen Cliff - Close-Up Panorama

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21 Sep 2014

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Mussel Point, near Zennor, Cornwall - spectacular complex cave system booming, and then the nearby powerful blowhole coming to life - both heard from very close quarters.
A really big dynamic range in all this day's recordings! In order not to clip the loudest booms I kept the level low. For something like a realistic sound level I set my playback volume 9dB higher than my regular level. Caution! If your regular volume level is not at a sensibly modest level, or your particular system otherwise simply lacks enough reserve power, 9dB extra could quite possibly damage your speakers / amplifier - especially in the light of the big loading of very low frequencies in the big peaks.
  1. Strong booming from a fissure in the entrance to the cave system, with each wave continuing to surge into the main cave system, producing all manner of smaller but deeper booms and whoomphs as the wave hits irregularities in the cave wall and the ends of the various side channels. The heavy booming from the fissure eased off after some half-hour, but the complex of boomings and whoomphs within the main cave space became correspondingly more pronounced, with a few very exciting episodes where brief series of distinctly larger waves came surging in and producing a quite intimidating mass or roaring, thundering, whoomphing and booming. For the last half-hour conditions are quieter, but still with a beautiful assortment of smaller booms and 'writhing sea' sounds as each wave surges in.
    The recorder was placed in a low and precariously exposed position looking right into the cave system, and thus the 'action' was especially loud. - 139' -- CD - Spectacular cave boomings, Mussel Point (very close) (1a, 1b)
  2. Overlooking the same from a slightly higher point, which was shielded from the cave entrance apart from the booming fissure, and was getting more sea sound from outside the cave's narrow 'vestibule'. - 19' -- CD - Spectacular Cave Boomings, Mussel Point (close-up panorama)
  3. Ditto, from a rather higher position - still close, but the cave sounds just a bit more balanced into the more general sea sound. - 51' -- CD - Spectacular Cave Boomings, Mussel Point (close-up panorama)
  4. Closely overlooking the blowhole as it comes to life. This is actually from the actually quite large mouth of a nearby cave system, which usually appears to require not only a reasonably good swell but a good high tide, which then results in the sea blocking the cave entrance and causing it to act as a potentially very powerful blowhole, which sends out low-angle jets that can be of very large quantities of water. The recording starts with just the odd little deep murmurs and grumbles from the cave, with the odd almost silent jet of fine spray issuing. These gradually crank up and become powerful, but sound relatively quiet because they are of such low frequencies (many centred at or below 20Hz and some even being near 10Hz!). - 52' -- CD - Booming Cave & Blowhole, Mussel Point, Zennor - Close-up
    This is quite different from the aggressive sort of heavy whoomphs I'd heard from other blowholes close-up. I caution, though, that this, although sounding less loud than the neighbouring cave boomings, is the more likely to damage one's playback equipment if one is careless about turning up the volume for a realistic level!
    After I'd moved on to the next headland I found that this blowhole had become a whole lot louder still and was ejecting still larger quantities of water (Yes, I know - 'the one that got away'! ).

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19 Sep 2014

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Thunder and eventual rain, with robins singing, Exeter city centre (from my bedroom window), pre-dawn / dawn.
Very slow approach of a vigorous storm with frequent lightning, but the approaching part gradually petered out as it came, so that there were only a few reasonably close peals of thunder, with the rain coming over once the local lightning activity had almost stopped. So, we have a lot of 'atmospheric' very distant thunder for the first nearly 25 minutes. The heavy rain doesn't last very long, and then the rain gradually eases off, with the robins just starting to sing again by the end. - 57' -- CD - Pre-dawn Thunder, Rain, with Robins Singing
Because of the dynamic range involved, this recording really needs to be listened to at 6db louder than my normal playback level (right for reasonably realistic reproduction of well recorded classical music for full symphony orchestra) - but that advice does not apply to people who routinely play their audio at unduly loud levels!
 

17 Sep 2014

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East of Sidmouth, Devon, UK - Salcombe valley, almost at top of east slope, plus west end of Branscombe landslip - wind in the trees / thickets, with sea in the background; bird sounds present but generally sparse. Because of the shingle beaches along this stretch of coast, the sea sound is characterized by a quite loud drawback sound between the breaking of each new wave - the drawback sounding so prominent because the drawback pulls a lot of pebbles with it, and pebbles rolling on pebbles are noisy!
  1. Above Salcombe valley, starting late morning, the recorder placed on signpost at the top of the coast path ascent from the valley (owing to no really suitable spot to perch the recorder just there). A lovely exhilarating mix of wind and background sea sounds with occasional bird punctuations, including a rather noisy pheasant at the beginning. I let this recording run for a really long time, because I had to cut out an unprecedented amount because of a succession of aeroplanes; what I have now is probably little more than half the original length. - 74' -- (part) CD - Wind in Trees, Sea far Below - Salcombe Valley, Sidmouth
  2. Same spot in general terms, but just a little more inland on the contouring track there, actually perched on a small signpost by the top of a minor track that ascends from a farm in the valley bottom. This different perspective gives a clearer separation of the foreground wind and the distant sea, so I may quite possibly use it in preference to 1. - 42' -- CD - Wind in Trees, Sea far Below - Salcombe Valley, Sidmouth
  3. At the west end of the quite well wooded Branscombe landslip, where the coast path is ascending from the Hooken undercliff. If you listen with care you'd come to realize that what sounds to be the rushing of wind in the background is actually echoes of the sea on a towering chalk cliff buttress facing the recorder - the direct sea sound being clearly well to the left. For the most part the wind that we hear is in the foreground, coming through the trees.  I had to cut out a lot from about 25 minutes of this recording because of continual barking of a dog down on the beach - but I retained the first few barks as they made an impressive echo on the cliff and generally added to the 'atmosphere', but any more would have been just too distracting and irritating. - 63' -- CD - Wind in Trees, Sea Echoes - Branscombe Landslip
There was a second Branscombe landslip recording - actually getting a better (clearer) soundscape than 3. above, but it was ruined by a recorder malfunction.

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7 Sep 2014

Mussel Point, near Zennor, Cornwall - cave booming from close quarters
Quite strong booming from a fissure in the entrance to the cave - but this was short-lived because of the changing tide. However, a very pleasant quiet 'talking to oneself' booming continued.
  1. Facing right into the cave at close quarters, from a very precarious position! The strong booming goes on for a short while, then easing down to a lovely 'talking to itself' sort of whumping and slight booming. - 38'
  2. Split off from the above recording - a continuation of the nice 'talking to itself' sound. - 21'
  3. As 1., but from a slightly higher position, just shielded from direct sound from the cave entrance (and the fissure), and thus more a panorama of the surrounding sea sound punctuated by the booms from the cave entrance fissure. Those booms sound much deeper from this position. - 45'
 

3 Sep 2014

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Beeny Cliff, near Boscastle, Cornwall - gentle sea sound with the most exquisite cave rumblings and boomings!
Peaceful, yet powerful and majestic!
There are cave boomings and cave boomings. The alcove in Beeny Cliff, where the coast path is diverted up and around to avoid the alcove's cliff edge, is not just another booming cave, but a real aristocrat, with style! Its soundscapes of rumblings and booms are truly majestic, even when the swell is relatively small and the sounds are quiet. The reason? - This is a whole large and deep cave system, with two tall and rather narrow cave entrances in the alcove and other cave entrances close by, which latter may or may not also be part of the same cave system. None of these is seen from the coast path above, but for some of my recordings, rather precariously I got a little way down on the south-west side of the alcove, where one has a view right into the two major cave entrances, and from where you hear a lot more booms and rumbling than from above on the clifftop or coast path.
The size and depth of the cave system results in a very reverberant quality to all booms and rumbles, and also a great depth of sound, with very low, 'feely', 'earthquaky' frequencies.
On this particular day, despite a really quite small swell, conditions conspired to give me wonderful long recordings of these beautiful soundscapes. The sound of sea breaking on the cliffs was minimal, so one could concentrate on the deeper sounds. The rumbles and booms sound rather like distant thunder, but much deeper, with a common centre frequency of about 30Hz, and a fair number considerably lower - and all with a truly delectable reverberance. Actually, the tide was going out (from a quite high state) during the recording, so the booms mostly eased off during about the first half-hour, after which the rumbles continued, with more occasional and generally less strong booms - though there was not a clear distinction between the two types of sound, so that many of what I was thinking of as rumbles would most likely get described as booms by many people.
N.B. Most of these booms and rumbles are too low to be audible from speakers that do not have a fully extended bass (reasonably full reproduction right down to 20Hz). For example my main speakers, which undoubtedly have great and accurate sound quality above the lower bass, reproduce almost nothing of these sounds. Fortunately I do get those sounds well and indeed impressively reproduced, because I also use a carefully configured pair of BK XLS200 subwoofers.
  1. On clifftop of alcove, with the caves themselves hidden below. The very deep rumbles come and go with the waves, and are like a very slow breathing, punctuated now and again by the odd really deep booms. - 78' -- CD - Beeny Cliff (3) - Deep Rumbles and Booms from Clifftop
  2. A similar position, but on a much lower tripod and slightly back from the edge, so shielded from direct sea sound and really exposing the rumbles and booms - a wonderful sound. The initial recorder position was virtually totally shielded from the sound of the sea apart from the rumbles and booms, which wasn't really what I was intending. At about 4'11 into the recording I moved the recorder to what sounded to be a better position, and from there you can hear some gentle sea action below, though it is still usefully subdued. I removed the disturbed part of the recording, so that the very shielded first part fades into the more lively sounding remainder of the recording. - 29' -- CD - Beeny Cliff (5) - Great Deep Rumbles and Booms - Extra
  3. Down the SW side of the alcove, facing into the cave entrances, the recorder on what I'd describe as a 'midi' tripod and so exposed to the sound of the sea at the foot of the cliff. - 22' -- CD - Beeny Cliff (5) - Great Deep Rumbles and Booms - Extra
  4. Virtually the same position down the SW side of the alcove, but on a mini-tripod and so shielded from the most direct sea sound, thus making it easier to hear all the rumbles and booming. - 78' -- CD - Beeny Cliff (4) - Great Deep Rumbles and Booms

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31 Aug 2014

Mussel Point and Tregerthen Cliff, near Zennor, Cornwall - cave booming from close quarters
  1. Mussel Point, overlooking the small inlet at mouth of booming cave; the cave entrance itself hidden. The booms are embedded in a loud and thunderous general sea sound. - 21'
  2. Ditto, lower position, closer and looking directly into cave entrance. The main booms and ejections are coming not from within the main cave, but from a fissure in the entrance to the main cave. The booms are really loud here at first, and so stand out more clearly from the sea sound. - 22'
  3. Just above the cleft in the rock 'apron' on SW side of Tregerthen Cliff, with the sea powerfully booming at the end of the cleft, in a cave actually underneath the recorder. - 25'
 

20 Jul 2014

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Tregerthen Cliff, near Zennor, Cornwall, at and close to cleft in the low cliff 'apron' with booming cave on the SW side of the minor headland - the tide too high for booming initially, the booming beginning later in the session
Actually the booming, although sounding quite strong in the later part of the recording session, was not as loud as on some other occasions, though a +6dB volume increase on playback gets the most realistic sound level for the second recording here.
  1. At the cleft's edge, closely overlooking the sea surging in and out and impressively loudly slopping about within the cleft; no booming yet; open sea to right. - 19'
  2. The same position except a little back from the edge and so shielded from the direct sound of the sea within the cleft (though getting it from the sea outside the cleft, to right). Booming starts about halfway through, increasing in frequency and 'welly' for the rest of the recording - 114' -- (part) CD - Sea Starting to Boom in Cleft, Tregerthen Cliff, Zennor

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19 Jul 2014

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Mild thunderstorm at dawn in Exeter city centre, with seagulls.
This starts with the very first faint grumbles of thunder that I could hear in the all-night recording I made, and then gives way to some moderately heavy rain (heavier for a minute or two), eventually with a few further more or less distant rumbles. The storm never came over really properly, all its lightning being on the approaching side and not coming overhead, although obviously the rain did, and the lightning activity not passing by or continuing in the receding direction (at least, as seen by me).
In July and August the seagulls here (both herring gull and lesser black-backed gull) are horrendously noisy, and although they do have a relatively quiet period in the early small hours, by dawn they are fully at it again, giving many city residents here a hard time with regard to getting sufficient sleep. They are thus a major player in this recording, and we get no other bird sounds to sweeten the pill as I had in my June thunderstorm recording. - 41'
 

30 Jun 2014

By the Cot Valley, on the coast path a little south of Cape Cornwall, Cornwall - Peaceful sea at night, with Manx shearwaters - the 'Devil bird'!
The purpose of this second overnight session at the Cot Valley was to re-take the recording I'd made last time there of the Manx shearwaters close-up, as heard from the coast path just round the corner from the Cot Valley - for when I recorded that first time, on 25 June, the recorder had been poorly positioned and the resultant recording had had far too strong a sea sound, overwhelming most of the bird sound, and I had deleted it. This time I got it better - although the birds were actually giving distinctly less of a performance than on 25th June.
This recording, then, is of a peaceful night-time sea (starting about 20-past midnight BST, when the Manx shearwaters were just starting their truly grotesque performance), and gives a relatively close-up perspective - though on this occasion it is only now and then that they come really close.
For most or all of the recording a quiet very low frequency rumble / hum can be heard, varying in amplitude. That is from a constant stream of shipping passing by far out at sea. I cut out sections containing the louder and and more intrusive levels of that interference. - 66'
This recording was on one of my CDs, but that has now been replaced by one of the recordings of 24 June 2015.
 

25 Jun 2014

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Cot Valley, a little south of Cape Cornwall, Cornwall - overnight session with two long dawn choruses - but first, an amazing unexpected 'extra'!
  1. The 'Devil Bird'!
    This is what I started hearing from about 00:30, while having little snoozes while lying looking up at the stars from high up above the mouth of the Cot Valley. Surely these were the most weird and disturbing sounds that I had ever heard in the 'natural world', and worthy of many a night hell scenario, and really great for one like me who's evidently cleared his previously lifelong dread of being alone in the dark! And what was making those weird strangled, almost coughing calls, as though in the throes of an acute asthma attack and fighting for one's life? I assumed it had to be a bird, because they were flying around, but, weirdly, this devilish sound happened only from about 00:30 to 02:30, in the darkest hours of the short midsummer night. I found out afterwards that the source of all this grotesquery was Manx shearwaters.
    The recording is from close to my working-base vantage point for that night, high above the valley mouth, pointing obliquely seaward to focus better on the 'action', and I took the liberty to slightly amplify the recording to make the very quiet soundscape more usefully audible in ordinary domestic listening situations. A faint repeating low tone, presumably from a distant 'whistling' buoy out at sea can be heard in the earlier part of the recording, so adding to the 'atmosphere'. - 78' -- CD - Peaceful Sea at Night, with the 'Devil Bird' (1: distant)
  2. Dawn chorus, from the same position as above (by the coast path on the north-east side of the valley), but with the recorder facing squarely across the valley, so that the by then very quiet sea sound is to the right, though a stream coming down the bottom of the valley would also be adding an element of background sound. This terrain is rough, with a lot of heather, bracken, gorse and bramble, and more or less treeless. This, then, dictated what sort of birds to expect here. Unsurprisingly, a lot of skylarks or at least skylarky sounds figure in the ensemble.
    Actually a fairly brisk northerly breeze was blowing, and although this spot was sheltered much of the time, during this recording it did become quite breezy for a while prior to the middle of the recording, and again a bit more so late on. - 124' -- CD - Dawn Chorus, Sea, Wind - Cot Valley, near Cape Cornwall
  3. Dawn chorus, from beside the coast path further down, i.e., more inland, again facing squarely across the valley. Here we are nearer to the more wooded parts of the valley slopes (to left), while the distant sea sound to right is difficult to make out because of the very quiet sound of the stream straight ahead in the valley bottom just a little way below. This position was more sheltered, and so only the odd small wind gusts are noticeable in the recording, though just towards the end the wind was increasing there too. Almost at the end, a troupe of choughs stages a very close fly-over, to my great delight! - 129' -- CD - Dawn Chorus in the Cot Valley - A Little Inland

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22 Jun 2014

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By Gurnard's Head, near Zennor, Cornwall - two long dawn choruses.
  1. Gentle sea nearby, from clifftop next to Gurnard's Head, with distant dawn chorus plus nearby meadow pipit and the odd skylark. The sea is actually behind the recorder, which is just seaward of the coast path and facing SE, towards the rough area where Recorder 2 is placed, so as to pick up the distant birdsong and avoid the nearby sea sound obliterating it. - 121' -- CD - Gentle Sea with Distant Dawn Chorus - Clifftop by Gurnard's Head
  2. Dawn chorus with distant sea, from rough open ground slightly inland from the coast path by Gurnard's Head - actually beside the track that leads to Treen and the Gurnard's Head inn. The recording's panorama is facing NE, over rather distant rugged coves to Boswednack Cliff and beyond. Lots of skylarks in the intricate birdsong ensemble textures. - 141' -- CD - Dawn Chorus with Sea - from rough open ground by Gurnard's Head

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19 Jun 2014

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Teign Gorge overnight - a completely new type of (ad)venture (great for one who has had an almost lifelong dread of being alone in the dark!). River Teign, and two spectacular completely separate long dawn choruses.
These recordings have a particular spaciousness because of the slight reverberation of every sound in the valley.
  1. River Teign at night (1.30 a.m. start), from Sharp Tor, by the Hunter's Path. From this height the Teign gives a beautiful moderately strong but 'soft' rushing sound from the valley below, complete with its reverberation in the valley, which sounds particularly beautiful when reproduced with a wide stereo separation. A completely uneventful recording, with no birds apart from a few distant 'kewit' calls from a distant tawny owl at first, though a youngster with good hearing might hear the bat that passed by just once (it shows on the waveform, and its sound is in the frequency range of 15-22 kHz). A great get-you-to-sleep recording for particular people with sleep difficulties. - 114' (78' used) -- CD - River Teign in Teign Gorge, from Sharp Tor, at Night - The ultimate sleep-assist CD!
  2. Dawn chorus, from exactly that same spot on Sharp Tor. - 132' -- CD (covers 2 CDs) - Dawn Chorus Over River Teign - from Sharp Tor, Teign Gorge
  3. Dawn chorus, from slightly to east of the highest point on the Hunter's Path (Hunting Gate), with the River Teign much further below and thus very quiet indeed, though still giving a very gentle continuous background rushing sound, and, likewise, most of the birds much more distant, giving this chorus an amazingly huge, 'open' and panoramic character. - 143' -- CD (covers 2 CDs) - Dawn Chorus Over River Teign - from high up in the Teign Gorge

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18 Jun 2014

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Field by River Teign, just upstream from the Teign Gorge - wonderful evening birds' chorus, with a gentle background sound from the River Teign.
This was actually the beginning of the all-night session that is listed for 19th June.
  1. Bird chorus with blackbirds (a fair number of them) predominant. - 37' -- CD - Evening Birds by Teign Gorge - Blackbirds and Jackdaws
  2. Bird chorus with jackdaws predominant, though with a chorus of rooks for a short while. - 41' -- CD - Evening Birds by Teign Gorge - Blackbirds and Jackdaws

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17 Jun 2014

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Gwennap Head and Trevilley Cliff (above Lion's Den), near Land's End, Cornwall - Fulmars and jackdaws, probably with some distant choughs.
  1. From Zawn Rinny, the same sheer gully at Gwennap Head where I'd previously recorded: this time, with a very gentle sea so that you can hear the fulmars really well. As previously, those fulmars not directly visible sound reverberant. Upper (landward) position. - 60' -- CD - Fulmars in Spectacular Cliff Gully, Gwennap Head
  2. Ditto, lower (seaward) position. - 47' -- (part) CD - Fulmars in Spectacular Cliff Gully, Gwennap Head
  3. From a granite outcrop topping Trevilley Cliff, just south of Pordenack Point, where I recorded on the previous session, looking over the cove known as the Lion's Den, to Pordenack Point - fairly gentle sea, with jackdaws, occasional fulmar cackling, and, late in the recording, some singing from a linnet. - 75'
  4. On the same outcrop but in a much more hidden position, where the recorder is shielded from much of the direct sea sound, so you can hear the birds much more. Round here the jackdaws come and share some of their intimate moments with us! - 58'

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14 Jun 2014

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Gwennap Head and Pordenack Point, near Land's End, Cornwall - jackdaws specially featured, with many (probably just the young) sounding confusingly like choughs.
- On a day when I was not expecting to get any worthwhile recordings owing to the small swell and the strong northerly wind. In the event I was particularly pleased at last to have recordings that feature jackdaws instead of them just being occasional visitors in the soundscape.
  1. A real oddity! At Gwennap Head, with the recorder on the edge of and looking into an impressive gaping hole in the ground, where the roof of a sea cave has fallen in and at the bottom you can see boulders on the beach, illuminated by daylight coming in the cave entrance. Curiously, a jackdaw, sounding quite chough-like and therefore presumably a youngster, repeatedly utters its call from deep within and thus sounding reverberant. Eventually others join in - maybe at that point a parent has returned. The sea is behind us and quite subdued and muffled, as the shape of the land here is shielding the recorder from the direct sea sound. Also, a fair amount of that sound that we do hear is actually echo on the bit of cliff face that is the wall of this deep hole. And then, to make this really atmospheric, we can hear, on and off, very quietly the eerie deep moaning sound of the 'whistle' on the Runnelstone buoy, out at sea.
    Also adding 'atmosphere' are the occasional very distant-sounding reverberant men's voices from climbers calling out to each other on the spectacular Chair Ladder cliff buttress system. We do not hear their voices directly at all; what we hear is their echo within the hole, the sound of the voices having come in through the cave entrance at sea-level.
    And as an additional layer of interest, much of the time we can hear a bumblebee in the foreground, busily foraging. - 34' -- CD - Sea and Birds by Land's End - Jackdaw Paradise (2)
  2. At Pordenack Point, roughly SSE of Land's End, in a sheltered SW-facing alcove, where a flock of jackdaws, the young sounding chough-like, also apparently with a few actual choughs to really confuse things, are flying around and then periodically flying off to cliffs just beyond the south-facing alcove, thus not to be heard here then, but to be picked up by the second recorder. Other birds include the inevitable odd herring gull, an occasional rock pipit (the very high-pitched rather 'chinky'-sounding repeated and usually accelerating notes), and just a hint or two of fulmars. - 74' -- CD - Sea and Birds by Land's End - Jackdaw Paradise (1)
  3. Similar, but from the south-facing alcove, so capturing the jackdaws (/ choughs) when they have temporarily deserted the SW-facing alcove. - 39' -- CD - Sea and Birds by Land's End - Jackdaw Paradise (2)

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7 Jun 2014

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Thunderstorm, giving way to steady rain, then with blackbirds gaining prominence as the rain dies out. Also, as ever (here), with seagulls periodically throughout.
Recorded in the small hours on my bedroom windowsill, central Exeter, Devon, UK.
Thunderstorms are rare in Exeter, even compared with other parts of southern England, so, for me even a small thunderstorm is a sought-for item! Because it looked less unlikely than usual that at least some thunder would come within earshot this particular night, at bedtime I set up a recorder and let it run all night, so I could then go to sleep and not have the disturbance of wondering whether or not to get out of bed later on to set up the recorder. In the event, I woke up about 3.15 a.m. BST and heard what I took to be the first distant slight rumble, but actually examination of the recording afterwards showed that the first audible hints of thunder came at about 2.55, while I was still firmly asleep. Initially I was delighted at that, for I love the sound of a really distant approaching thunderstorm, and about 15 to 20 minutes of menacing prologue would have greatly pleased me. However, I had to cut out a fair bit of that prologue because of various disturbances from drunken rowdies who had been spewing out of the various night clubs. Also, some bits had to be cut out because of some loud breathing of mine while I was still asleep! Nonetheless, with some intricate editing I managed to conserve some 12 minutes of that atmospheric lead-in.

The storm was actually fairly brief, and all the lightning appeared to be in-cloud, so the thunder comes in non-startling peals. Steady rain continues for a while after the thunder has passed away, with blackbirds (one of our most endearingly mellifluous bird species) noticing that it's dawn and doing their own star turn (along with the odd blue tit). Meanwhile seagulls (mostly herring gull, though with the odd lesser black-backed gull) are quite vocal throughout, except in the main part of the storm - but even then one can hear the shrill squealings from some herring gull chicks on a neglected and absurdly vegetated chimney just across the road. - 68' (extracted from all-night recording) -- CD - Thunderstorm, Rain, and Dawn Blackbirds

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16 May 2014

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Between Bude and Morwenstow, Cornwall, by the coast path - skylarks over the clifftop fields, with a gentle surf rolling in below, and surf at Steeple Point (by Duckpool), being made to sound more thundering and powerful than it really was, by acoustically interesting placement of the recorders (i.e., it was not artificially contrived).
1-4 below represent two recording sessions about half a mile apart. In all four recordings the two recorders were facing inland to give prominence to the skylarks while reducing the sea prominence and also better capturing a gentle thundering from the surf (heard properly only on speaker systems with fully extended bass). As well as skylarks, the odd jackdaws and raven can be heard, and groups of linnets, which fly close to the ground, uttering rapid contact calls. 5 and 6 are surf recordings without significant input from birds.
  1. Skylarks, with gentle surf rolling in in the background. In this recording some of the surf is heard directly, albeit behind the recorder, which latter was mounted by means of a GorillaPod on the handle of my telescopic walking stick stuck into the ground. - 61' -- CD - Clifftop Fields North of Bude - Skylarks and Gentle Surf (1)
  2. Skylarks, with gentle surf rolling in in the background. Recorder placed further back from cliff edge in a spot where it was well shielded from all direct sound from the sea 'action'. In order to raise the recorder a bit among the fairly long grass, in absence of a suitable length of tripod I used a Hama Mini-Tripod (very small), raised up a bit by placing it on my rucksack, which was lying on the grass. - 43'-- (part) - CD - Clifftop Fields North of Bude - Skylarks and Gentle Surf (1)
  3. Skylarks, with gentle surf rolling in in the background. Some metres landward of the coast path, and shielded from most of the direct sea sound (because of the clifftop hiding the breakers). - 40'-- CD - Clifftop Fields North of Bude - Skylarks and Gentle Surf (2)
  4. Skylarks, with gentle surf rolling in in the background.Virtually identical position except that the recorder was between the coast path and the clifftop, and thus very near the latter. It was on the Hama Mini-Tripod, again raised a bit by placing it on my rucksack. Because it was still very low, although it was near the cliff edge it was still shielded from the direct sea sound, although that was coming through louder than in 3. - 35'-- CD - Clifftop Fields North of Bude - Skylarks and Gentle Surf (2)

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15 Apr 2014

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By Hunter's Path, overlooking the Teign Gorge, Drewsteignton, Devon - 'Extraordinary Chimes!' -- recorded at the same spot as the last few times there. A particularly oddball extravaganza of haunting and strange wind chimes combinations in a wonderfully spacious natural soundscape.
On this occasion the wind was ideal for my purposes, and I got an excellent mix of chimes activity in each recording. This time the larger chimes were Gypsy Mezzo and Soprano plus the Chimes of Olympos, giving a really strange partially dissonant mix of tones. The constant interplay of consonant and dissonant harmonies makes these recordings a particularly fascinating and invigorating listen.

The dissonance effect sounds all the more strange because the Gypsy chimes (from Music of the Spheres) are tuned to their Gypsy scale in equal temperament (which is the standard Western type of tuning, but is artificial and limited in the resultant harmoniousness), whereas the Woodstock chimes, so I understand, are tuned to their scales in 'just' or 'natural' intonation (which is more normal in Eastern traditions, and is more harmonious to human consciousness). This notices primarily with the Olympos chimes, certain of whose tubes sound way out of tune in this ensemble - not because they are really out of tune, but because of this difference of tuning system between the particular chimes from the two sources. However, while that would sound unacceptable, say, in a Western orchestra, in the case of the chimes the result has an intriguing beauty all of its own, in which the vibrations and 'beats' caused by the various supposed 'mismatches' hang there in the soundscape as objects of fascination and beauty in their own right.

Those three larger chimes were used in each of the four recordings, with smaller chimes added as follows:
  1. None - i.e., just the three larger chimes. - 38' -- CD - Wind Chimes in the Wild - Vol. 39
  2. Polaris, Mercury. - 38' -- CD - Wind Chimes in the Wild - Vol. 39
  3. Mars. - 38' -- CD - Wind Chimes in the Wild - Vol. 40
  4. Polaris, Mercury, Mars - 38' -- CD - Wind Chimes in the Wild - Vol. 40
    4a. Remainder from 4. - 19'

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Please note that the above are my final set of recordings of the wind chimes the I've been using up to this point, and now ALL of those chimes are up for sale.

Further chimes recordings with really exciting new ones from a new source - Davis Blanchard Wind Chimes - feature in some of my sessions from February 2017 onwards.

 

1 Apr 2014

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By Hunter's Path, overlooking the Teign Gorge, Drewsteignton, Devon - yet another 'Strange Chimes' session - this time in a bid to complete 'unfinished business' from my 19th March session at the same spot. Another extravaganza of haunting and strange wind chimes combinations in a wonderfully spacious natural soundscape
This time my four smaller chimes sets (Pluto, Polaris, Mercury, Mars) were put together with the larger Chimes of Olympos in four combinations, each of the latter in its own way being exquisitely, hauntingly, beautiful. This time also, I took extra care to ensure that I had the most effective and 'musical' balance between the different chimes, and this enabled me to make good the errors and deficiencies from my 19 March session at the same spot. For the most part the chimes activity is gentle, with periods of more or less quiescence, though it does get a bit more frisky on a few occasions in the 5th recording.
  1. Birds, without chimes. - 16' -- CD - Wind Chimes in the Wild - Vol. 41
  2. Pluto, Polaris, Mercury - minimal chimes activity, so this is best regarded as 'birds with some chimes'. - 35' -- CD - Wind Chimes in the Wild - Vol. 41
  3. Pluto, Polaris, Mercury (again) - just enough chimes activity (all gentle) to call this 'chimes with birds'. - 38' -- CD - Wind Chimes in the Wild - Vol. 38
  4. Mars - 43' -- CD - Wind Chimes in the Wild - Vol. 37
  5. Polaris, Mercury - 51' -- CD - Wind Chimes in the Wild - Vol. 38
    (smaller part) -- CD - Wind Chimes in the Wild - Vol. 41
  6. Polaris - 44' -- CD - Wind Chimes in the Wild - Vol. 37

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26 Mar 2014

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Three locations between Sidmouth and Beer, Devon - birds and sea. Each very beautiful, peaceful and relaxing in its own way.
  1. In the open woods high up on the Dunscombe Cliff slope of the Salcombe valley, overlooking that valley and Salcombe Mouth. A chiffchaff is the ongoing star performer. The sea is quite distant, so its sound seems rather muffled. - 45', cut down to 38' -- CD - Springtime Birds & Sea in Salcombe valley and Lincombe
  2. On the lower clifftop forming the mouth of Lincombe, the valley scooped out of Dunscombe Cliff. Again, chiffchaff is the most persistent bird to sing - often two or more of them. Again, the sea is heard indirectly and so the sound is subdued, though it is much closer and thus more prominent than in the first recording. -57' -- (part) CD - East Devon Springtime Clifftop Birds and Sea
  3. On clifftop on seaward side of Branscombe Humps. Here only occasional birdsong is heard, but the sea sound has a particular interest. This is the only one of this day's three recordings in which the sea is heard directly and therefore a fair amount of detail can be heard in it. Because it is a shingle beach (albeit less shingly than usual there, thanks to the winter storms), you can hear not only each wave breaking, but the rough, granular sound of each draw-back between them. The waves were coming in obliquely, its breaking moving from left to right, and consequently also the draw-back sound also travelling from left to right. However, that was only the overall pattern, and so there was a very satisfying unpredictability as to exactly where one would hear the next drawback or breaking wave sound. This sounds particularly beautiful with really well separated speakers. - 39' -- CD - East Devon Springtime Clifftop Birds and Sea

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19 Mar 2014

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By Hunter's Path, overlooking the Teign Gorge, Drewsteignton, Devon - a different 'Strange Chimes' session! Another extravaganza of haunting and strange wind chimes combinations in a wonderfully spacious natural soundscape, this time with a lot of springtime birdsong - and a concurrent long recording of the birds without any chimes sound at all.
This time my four smaller chimes sets (Pluto, Polaris, Mercury, Mars) were put together with the larger Chimes of Olympos and Gregorian Chimes (Tenor), in various combinations.
Actually, things weren't really straightforward for me over this session. For one thing, the wind was not really as strong as had been forecast or indeed as what I was aiming for, and indeed there really wasn't enough wind at all for what I wanted till towards midday. For this reason certain of the recordings are really 'birds with gentle wind chimes sounds (on and off)'. Also, I didn't get the chimes balance completely as I was after - though, generally speaking, the balance was still acceptable, there being no precise right or wrong about this. And then, as part of that issue, really the small chimes were a bit closer to the recorder than would have been ideal, and this led to the non-musical tapping sound of the strikers, particularly of the Mercury and Mars chimes, being intrusively loud, particularly in recording 6 as listed below.
Another issue for me was that the sound of these combinations, although exquisitely beautiful, was musically not what I'd been expecting, and indeed in some cases was something that I was not keen on (actually sounding sentimental!) - though mitigated by the overall soundscape, with so many birds pronouncing their springtime territories.
  1. Birds, with gentle chimes (all of them): Gregorian, Olympos, Pluto, Polaris, Mercury, Mars. - 47' -- CD - Wind Chimes in the Wild - Vol. 34
  2. The same combination, their action mostly gentle, but enough for this recording to be described as 'chimes with birds' rather than 'birds with chimes'. - 43' -- CD - Wind Chimes in the Wild - Vol. 35
  3. Chimes (Olympos, Pluto, Polaris, Mercury, Mars) with birds. - 41' -- CD - Wind Chimes in the Wild - Vol. 36
  4. Chimes (Gregorian, Pluto, Polaris, Mercury, Mars) with birds. - 39' -- CD - Wind Chimes in the Wild - Vol. 36
  5. Chimes (Gregorian, Olympos, Pluto, Polaris, Mercury) with birds. - 38' -- CD - Wind Chimes in the Wild - Vol. 35
  6. Birds with very gentle chimes (Olympos, Mars). - 28' -- CD - Wind Chimes in the Wild - Vol. 34
  7. Birds, with no chimes - a wonderful broad panorama overlooking the Teign Gorge, this recording made concurrently with the chimes ones (but completely out of earshot of them). - 77' -- CD - Springtime Birds Out in the Open, Teign Gorge

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15 Mar 2014

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Springtime bird chorus in Lincombe, Dunscombe Cliff, near Sidmouth, Devon, UK
A beautiful mid-afternoon bird chorus in this rather amphitheatre-like mouth of the small valley known as Lincombe, which is scooped out of Dunscombe Cliff - the coast path having to make an inland detour to get round Lincombe's deep and rather wild seaward end, which doesn't open directly to the shore but rather, ends in a line of lower cliff slope. The bird chorus is in a secluded area separated from the coast path (above) by a small cliff and a lot of trees and scrub, and has a particularly nice acoustic particularly on account of that (seaward facing) cliff, which is some 25 metres behind the recorder, which latter is mounted on a dead tree branch, facing out to sea. This is often a particularly delicate and intricate bird chorus. - originally 57' but cut down to 38' to remove a lot of high altitude jet aeroplane intrusions, and then to fit the CD.  -- CD - Springtime Birds & Sea in Salcombe valley and Lincombe

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12 Mar 2014

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On the stretch of coast from Gwennap Head to Land's End, Cornwall - two pairs of truly spectacular sea recordings, with a swell rather larger than for my recordings there of 5 June 2013, and also a high tide to start with, and still higher than previously for the final pair of recordings. Also, for all 4 recordings I managed to use taller tripods than previously in these particular spots, so getting a more accurate sound.
  1. At Gwennap Head, on the grassy terrace traversing the south-east side of Zawn Rinny, the sheer-sided cliff gully where I recorded twice last year. This time the waves were surging into the end of the narrow channel at the bottom of the gully, with a heavy resonant deep boom as each hit the end; very likely there is a cave there, though one can't safely look down and round to find out about that. To add considerable interest, pairs of fulmars were on various ledges on the sheer cliff face in the gully, uttering their weird clucking / cackling sounds.
    1. Near the top end of the terrace, so getting most emphasis on the sound in the gully, and getting a quite close perspective on some of the fulmars. - 57' -- CD - Booming Sea and Fulmars in Sheer Cliff Gully, Gwennap Head
    2. Further down along the terrace and facing obliquely across the gully and into its landward end (i.e., where the booming is happening. This catches the very low frequencies of the booms and various deep rumbles more strongly, so making it in some ways more spectacular than the above recording, but the fulmars are more distant and all sounding fairly reverberant, so you don't usually hear a lot of detail in their sound. - 54' -- (shorter part) CD - Booming Sea and Fulmars in Sheer Cliff Gully, Gwennap Head
      -- (longer part) CD - Booming Sea, Climbers, Fulmars in Sheer Cliff Gully, Gwennap Head
  2. On the north clifftop of Pordenack Point, overlooking Zawn Wells and the iconic rock islands Enys Dodnan and the Armed Knight, with Land's End just beyond. The recorders were placed in similar positions to those of the 5 June 2013 recordings. This time the sea dramatics were even more spectacular, with much deep thundering and booming - and also with an unexpected addition: the Longships foghorn! This is, sadly, not the deep, atmospheric sound that I would really like to get in some recordings, but a fairly high-pitched tone. Nonetheless, it does create an interesting 'atmosphere' of its own, emphasizing the odd contradiction, in this heavy swell thundering / booming here even though the weather was settled and quiet with very little wind, and indeed with patches of sea fog. I would not generally make recordings containing this foghorn sound, but on this occasion the sea sound was so powerful that it kept the foghorn very much in the background.
    1. Higher position, more closely overlooking Zawn Wells (though the loudest sea action was against the cliffs just the other side) - 68' -- CD - Sea Dramatics by Land's End (2a)
    2. Lower position, a bit further towards Pordenack Point, rather obliquely facing the line of cliffs the other side of Zawn Wells. As well as the action heard from the higher position, the recorder here picked up stronger booms and deep thundering from immediately below, and for some reason the fog horn tends to be often rather more audible. - 67' -- CD - Sea Dramatics by Land's End (2b)

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8 Mar 2014

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On the tip of the Shag Rock headland, Perranporth, Cornwall - this time the tide being too low for blowhole activity.
  1. From a rock terrace on the west side of the tip of the headland, facing full-frontal into the alcove formed by the headland joining onto the main cliff line, with the sea, despite the swell being modest, pummelling the cliffs like no-one's business - an awesome pandemonium of unremitting power! An orgy of relatively close-up thundering with booms, thuds and whoomphs aplenty!
    Needs very high-grade speakers! Would sound unpleasant to completely unbearable on any listening system that has significant boominess in its bass! - 95' -- (part) CD - Sea Dramatics at Shag Rock (6a)
  2. A concurrent recording, also facing that cliff alcove but a little back from the 'action', and shielded from much of the direct sea sound, so it is a much quieter and indeed remarkably gentle and peaceful sound despite it being from only a few metres back from the first recording's position. - 21'
  3. The same, but from a few metres further back, on a rather flat patch on the bare rock, at a spot where I had been sitting and enjoying the remarkably quiet and gentle sound there, with hardly a hint of the awesome turmoil and pandemonium revealed just a few metres up and over on the bare, broken rock. Just a quiet background sound of indirectly-heard sea - 35'
 

11 Jan 2014

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(a) Clifftop and upper cliff slope a little way north-east of Porthtowan, Cornwall - thundering surf (close by, with high and still rising tide), almost all of the sandy beach being submerged;
(b) More sea dramatics at Shag Rock, Perranporth: just to the south-west of, and way down on the tip of, the Shag Rock headland - still more powerful sea dramatics!

Meet the Shag Rock blowhole - close-up! Two particularly thrilling recordings from the precariously steep cliff slopes below the coast path a little south-west of, and actually on, the Shag Rock headland, at dusk; the tide was high side of middle and going out, so for the most part the sea was too deep there for the waves to break before hitting the cliffs, but there was a lot of blowhole activity (rather more than last time), and of course the waves were also booming and whumping all along the cliffs there in the caves that are progressively undercutting them. - Overall, a great orgy of particularly powerful blowhole whoomphs and all sorts of accompanying booms and, well, 'sea dramatics' sounds!
  1. Two more powerful-sounding and invigorating recordings from a clifftop near but a bit north-east of Porthtowan (recordings made during my lunch stop):
    1. From near the top of a track on the very steep cliff slope below what you could call the upper clifftop; the acoustics of this situation on the steep cliff slope emphasize the thundering of the sea. - 43' -- CD - Thundering Surf North-East of Porthtowan (2)
    2. From the actual clifftop, just a little back from the edge of a sheer cliff. This positioning shields the recorder from the strong hissiness of the sea defrothing immediately below. - 34' -- CD - Thundering Surf North-East of Porthtowan (2)
  2. By and on the Shag Rock headland
    1. From the uppermost concrete platform on the precarious narrow track following a sewage pipe obliquely down the very steep cliff slope, this time set up on a taller tripod, and positioned to get a particularly balanced and fascinatingly multi-detailed panorama, with the Shag Rock dramatics strong and clearly to the right, while all sorts of more distant dramatics are going on at various points on the left - 55'
    2. A first for me, and a real corker! - From way down on the very steep Shag Rock headland itself, on exciting and precarious steep rocky terrain, right on the tip of the headland overlooking the notch to the outlying abrupt rock, and thus directly, closely, overlooking the blowhole dramatics. The deep, heavy blowhole whoomphs repeatedly sent clouds of fine sea spray higher than I was, but fortunately drifting away from me and the recorder. Arguably my most powerful sea recording yet! - 41' -- CD - Sea Dramatics at Shag Rock (4)
      Because of the dynamic range involved, this recording really needs to be listened to at 9db louder than my normal playback level (right for reasonably realistic reproduction of well recorded classical music for full symphony orchestra). That represents a trebling of the sound level, and has the potential to cause equipment damage in systems that do not have sufficient power handling headroom.

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2 Jan 2014

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By Hunter's Path, overlooking the Teign Gorge, Drewsteignton, Devon - 'Strange Chimes'! Another, different, extravaganza of haunting and strange wind chimes combinations in a wonderfully spacious natural soundscape.
Three recordings from the same position as on 10 Dec 2013. Only three, because forecast heavy rain by the end of the afternoon made it sensible to make it only a short recording session this time, and then to beat a hasty retreat in order to minimize the chances of a bedraggled hitch-hike back to base.
The chimes used were the same as on that previous occasion, except that the Gypsy chimes were replaced by Bamboo chimes (large and small set). Another difference was that it was rather more windy this time - to such an extent that the chimes were often really thrashing about in the wind, and I was doubting whether the recordings would be worth keeping. In the event, however, the recordings, although overall tending to be somewhat hyperactive, still came out beautifully. Also, because I recorded for significantly longer than the duration that I would use for commercial CDs, this meant that I could be selective in reducing the length of each recording to make worthwhile CD compilations. That is, I could give priority to cutting out some of the over-active parts while seeking to avoid cutting out the moments of quietude and the odd interesting bird sounds, so that the end results would make a more satisfying and unstressful listen, while still faithfully representing the overall range of sound that I was getting in this particular day's session.
As already intimated, the bamboo chimes were used in all three recordings, and the combinations with Woodstock chimes were as follows:
  1. Chimes of Pluto, Polaris, Mercury, Mars. - 46' -- (part) CD - Wind Chimes in the Wild - Vol. 33
  2. Chimes of Pluto, Polaris, Mercury. - 49' -- (part) CD - Wind Chimes in the Wild - Vol. 33
  3. Nothing. That is, the bamboo chimes on their own. - 51' -- (part) CD - Wind Chimes in the Wild - Vol. 32
You might well think that the bamboo chimes on their own would not sound very interesting, but the truth is that once they are on their own you really hear their own tuning, to the whole tone scale. The considerable pitch difference between the large and small set makes it all sound particularly interesting, and the interval of the tritone is particularly emphasized. It is a truly lovely sound, even though being dry and earthy in marked contrast to the ethereal refinement of the metal chimes that I use.

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17 Dec 2013

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(a) Clifftop and upper cliff slope a little way north-east of Porthtowan, Cornwall - thundering surf (rather distant, as tide was out but coming in) on sandy beach;
(b) Just to the south-west of the Shag Rock headland near Perranporth, Cornwall - more sea dramatics!

Two wonderful pairs of concurrent recordings seemingly miraculously fitted into a hike from Portreath to Perranporth in a short winter day with a rather late start (owing to outward hitch-hiking delays). The Atlantic swell, although by far the smallest of that particular week, was still large enough to serenade me with the most wonderful thunderings and boomings for almost the whole length of my hike.
  1. Two powerful-sounding and invigorating recordings from a clifftop near but a bit north-east of Porthtowan (recordings made during my lunch stop):
    1. From near the top of a track on the very steep cliff slope below what you could call the upper clifftop; the acoustics of this situation on the steep cliff slope emphasize a continuous thundering of the sea. - 36' -- CD - Thundering Surf North-East of Porthtowan (1)
    2. From a sheltered little recess in the actual clifftop, at the edge of a sheer cliff. This doesn't emphasize the continuous thundering quite so much, so that we hear somewhat more differentiation in the (still thunderous) sound. - 34' -- CD - Thundering Surf North-East of Porthtowan (1)
  2. Two thrilling recordings from the precariously steep cliff slope below the coast path a little south-west of the Shag Rock headland, at dusk; the tide was high and still rising, so for the most part the sea was too deep there for the waves to break before hitting the cliffs, but there was a lot of blowhole activity and various massive eruptions of seawater as the waves hit the cliffs - overall, a great orgy of booms and whoomphs!
    1. From the low drystone wall that runs down the very steep slope to the actual clifftop, facing the headland. - 41' -- CD - Sea Dramatics at Shag Rock (3)
    2. From way down on a very narrow and precarious track that actually follows an underground sewage pipe obliquely down away from Shag Rock - still further down than in my previous recording there (5 January 2013); this, then, gets much closer sea 'action' with its own thunderings, booms and whoomphs, while the Shag Rock dramatics are still there but relegated to the background, on the right. - 36' -- CD - Sea Dramatics at Shag Rock (3)

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10 Dec 2013

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By Hunter's Path, overlooking the Teign Gorge, Drewsteignton, Devon - 'Strange Chimes'! An extravaganza of haunting and strange wind chimes combinations in a wonderfully spacious natural soundscape.
One of those rare extra-special days when everything came together just right to fulfil a particularly ambitious aim that had particularly stiff requirements. That day I went out loaded with no less than SIX sets of wind chimes, to record together in one great ensemble, pitting the smaller chimes that I'd obtained in the spring against both the Gypsy chimes. A fairly unlikely tree configuration was required for this, to enable me to get the right sound level balance between the respective chimes and each other, as well as with the natural soundscape itself. The only thing that was slightly 'off' was that the Mercury chimes really needed to be still closer to the recorder, and ideally the Gypsy chimes would have been a bit still further away, but the result is still something of a 'corker'.
And then, to cap it all, I got a whole lot more strange and wonderful recordings! Actually the wind was easing down during the session, so that recording 4 and especially 5 are a very different experience, with little chimes animation and indeed much quiescence where we are left with the natural soundscape more or less in its purely natural form. Mother nature kindly provided a flyabout of a pair of ravens in the first two recordings, and a local friendly farmer provided the cows that distantly moo here and there in the recordings and indeed render an actual chorus for us in recording 5!
ALL the recordings include the Gypsy Mezzo and Soprano chimes, which are combined with other chimes as follows:
  1. Chimes of Pluto, Polaris, Mercury, Mars - 89' -- (part) - CD - Wind Chimes in the Wild - Vol. 28
  2. Chimes of Polaris, Mars. Includes a lovely passage in which a pair of ravens are doing a flyabout. - 44' -- CD - Wind Chimes in the Wild - Vol. 29
  3. Chimes of Mars. - 44' -- (part) - CD - Wind Chimes in the Wild - Vol. 29
  4. Chimes of Polaris - 36'. -- CD - Wind Chimes in the Wild - Vol. 30
  5. Chimes of Pluto, Polaris, Mercury. Includes an episode with a distant chorus of cow moos! - 41'. -- CD - Wind Chimes in the Wild - Vol. 30
  6. - And a special bonus: a concurrent recording that I left to run through the above five chimes sessions, capturing the chimes distantly, and so with more emphasis on the natural soundscape itself - particularly 'atmospheric'! I have extracted from the 4-hour-plus recording a full CD's 'concentrate', which contains 5 tracks representing the respective chimes sessions, but playing without a break. - 4h 5m, condensed to 77' for the CD. -- CD - Wind Chimes in the Wild - Vol. 31

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26 Nov 2013

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Gwennap Head, Porthgwarra, Cornwall - gentle Atlantic swell in narrow channel between sheer-sided spectacular granite cliff buttresses.
A concurrent pair of recordings made from a deliciously exposed and precarious-looking grassy terrace on the sheer cliff face of Zawn Rinny.
  1. More seaward position, getting a nice balance of open sea sound (more to the left) and the cavernous rather boomy and rumbling reflected sound of the sea in the narrow channel (more to the right). -  62' -- (part) - CD - Gentle Sea Dramatics in Spectacular Cliff Gully, Gwennap Head
  2. More landward position, shielded from the open sea sound, so having a stronger focus on the sea sound within the narrow channel; none of that is heard directly, however, for the recorder would have to be peering right over the edge for that; all the sea sound is actually reflected off the opposite wall of this gully. - 58' -- (part) - CD - Gentle Sea Dramatics in Spectacular Cliff Gully, Gwennap Head

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12 Nov 2013

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Surf breaking on sandy beach, Lushington Cove, Porthtowan, Cornwall.
Recorded from the top of the dramatically exposed cliff face track that leads people of a certain non-nervous disposition from the top of the headland immediately south-west of Porthtowan down into Lushington Cove, and which presumably provides an escape route for people cut off by the tide in that cove. From this height the individual wave sounds are rather 'soft' and buried in the overall commotion of defrothing sea, but the overall sound is nonetheless powerful and invigorating, with a continuous very deep thundering aspect. - 29' -- CD - Surf breaking in Lushington Cove, Porthtowan

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20 Oct 2013

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Brief showers with a little hail and some squally wind gusts, recorded from my own abode in central Exeter, Devon.
3 recordings, 9', 3', 13' respectively, the last having a fair amount of sound from seagulls.
 

9 Oct 2013

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Teign Gorge, Drewsteignton, Devon - peaceful autumn recordings, with occasional gentle wind gusts tending to cause leaves and other bits to fall from the trees - a lovely sound.
  1. By Hunter's Path contouring near the top of the northern valley slope, in slight copse - some birds, the odd gentle wind gusts in the trees, and very distant rushing of River Teign far below. - 29' -- CD - Dartmoor Natural Soundscapes - Volume 10
  2. Similar, about 75 metres further along, and so getting different birds, and tending to get more (gentle) wind gusts. - 27' -- Dartmoor Natural Soundscapes - Volume 10
  3. Notionally beside the River Teign, but actually a little way up the steep slope from the Fisherman's Path, so overlooking the river through the trees. Just the very peaceful rushing water sound, with no birds and only the odd hints of wind in the trees. - 35' -- CD - Dartmoor Natural Soundscapes - Volume 14
  4. Beside River Teign, towards lower end of a longish very quiet-flowing stretch - includes some bird sounds and the odd gentle wind gusts in the trees. - 58' -- CD - Dartmoor Natural Soundscapes - Volume 11
  5. Similar, but beside the middle of the very quiet-flowing stretch, so very quiet. - 55' -- CD - Dartmoor Natural Soundscapes - Volume 12
  6. Notionally similar, slightly further downstream, but beside some fairly loud babbling over small rocks - enough to mask most other sounds, so birds generally pass unnoticed, and most of the odd gentle wind gusts are rather difficult to distinguish. - 34' -- CD - Dartmoor Natural Soundscapes - Volume 13
  7. Similar just a little more upstream, but rather quieter, the river gently babbling, with the odd bird and wind sounds tolerably audible. - 38' -- CD - Dartmoor Natural Soundscapes - Volume 13

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5 Oct 2013

Another recording from between St Ives and Zennor, Cornwall - this time from the nearest clifftop point to the rock island marked on maps as The Carracks but locally known as 'Seal Island'.
Gentle sea with some distant seal sounds - 40'
 

28 Sep 2013

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Gentle (sounding) dawn rain with thunder and some quiet birds
Recorded from my second-floor bedroom window in central Exeter, Devon, UK, from 7.0 a.m., starting when it was still fairly dark. As it was a Saturday, traffic and people noise was actually much less than at that time on a weekday, and, with some editing, I was able to get a really clean-sounding recording, the only discernible traffic noise being very distant and faint during the lull in the rain; on the basis of listening alone it would be well-nigh impossible to guess that this was recorded in a city centre or indeed anywhere urban at all. The rain was actually quite heavy, but from the particular viewpoint its hissiness is subdued and so it sounds soft and gentle; the louder water noise is actually the trickling of roof run-off water in nearby drainpipes, plus, for a time, the splattering from a blocked roof gutter. The peals of thunder were all very genteel and un-frightening, making this overall a peaceful and relaxing experience. - 43' -- CD - Gentle Rain with Thunder and Birds

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24 Sep 2013

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Yet more sea recordings from Mussel Point and Tregerthen Cliff, near Zennor, Cornwall; modest swell, though perhaps slightly larger than on 20 Sep, with a bit of mild sea thundering, but blowhole and booming caves being the centre of attention.
  1. Above the Economy Cove blowhole, this time with persistent occurrence of pulsed booming and associated spray jets, the pulsed splashing distinct at times. Late in the recording, distant moaning sounds are occasionally heard; they are from the seals on 'Seal Island' (The Carracks). - 37' -- CD - Cave boomings and blowhole, Economy Cove, Zennor (2)
  2. Mussel Point, on axis of headland, up grassy slope, just below the wire fence - sea with periodic mild thundering, and booms from a cave on the south side of the tip of the headland - a beautiful combination. - 59' -- CD - Thundering & Booming Sea at Mussel Point, Zennor
  3. Mussel Point, closely overlooking entrance of the booming cave - really loud and powerful heavy booming whoomphs, each associated with a splash-down of the violently ejected water. Just past halfway through, the loud booms with ejecta cease as the tide becomes too low, but gentler booms from deeper within the actually complex cave system continue. A real corker! - 25' -- CD - Booming Cave & Blowhole, Mussel Point, Zennor - Close-up
  4. Tregerthen Cliff, on top of the prominence, right beside coast path, shielded from the nearer direct sea sound and facing over the rocky shore in the Zennor direction, to make the curlews there more audible. The recording does catch the curlews for the first 13 minutes, but also rock pipits come to entertain us, and also, owing to some resonance effect of this position, the boomings of a cave down below on this cliff are much louder here than in the other, lower-placed recordings made on this day. - 45' -- CD - Gentle Sea with Cave Booms at Tregerthen Cliff, Zennor (2)
  5. Tregerthen Cliff, on exposed position lower down, directly over where the cave booms seem to be coming from; the booms sound fairly modest from that position, and the sea sounds quite gentle. - 66' -- CD - Gentle Sea with Cave Booms at Tregerthen Cliff, Zennor (1)
  6. Tregerthen Cliff, almost as low, but moved to a position partly shielded from the nearer direct sea sound, in an attempt to make the curlews more audible - but it has little success in that. - 32' -- CD - Gentle Sea with Cave Booms at Tregerthen Cliff, Zennor (2)

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22 Sep 2013

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Yet more sea recordings from Mussel Point and Tregerthen Cliff, near Zennor, Cornwall; moderate swell, larger than the last 2 times, with a fair amount of sea thundering.
  1. Above the Economy Cove blowhole, with some fairly strong booming, but no pulsing noticed. - 36' -- CD - Cave boomings and blowhole, Economy Cove, Zennor (2)
  2. Mussel Point, above the still inactive blowhole, from clifftop; the occasional grasshopper quietly sounds in the foreground. - 77'
  3. Mussel Point, on axis of headland, from clifftop. - 42'
  4. Tregerthen Cliff, higher position (SW) - complex thunderous sea activity, also with cave boomings, these latter coming in and out of focus in the general sea commotion, and giving it all an especially wild and powerful feel. - 77' -- CD - Sea Dramatics at Tregerthen Cliff (1)
  5. Tregerthen Cliff, lower position (NE) - a different perspective, with the cave boomings generally not so noticeable and usually more buried in the general commotion; still a beautiful and powerful soundscape, though! - 77' -- CD - Sea Dramatics at Tregerthen Cliff (2)

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20 Sep 2013

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More sea recordings from Mussel Point, near Zennor, Cornwall; modest swell but with some relatively gentle sea thundering.
  1. Mussel Point, on axis of headland, from fence post somewhat up the grassy slope. - 39' -- CD - Mildly Thundering Sea - Mussel Point, Zennor
  2. Mussel Point, above (inactive) blowhole on south side - from higher position, on prominence of crag. - 38' -- (part) - CD - Mildly Thundering Sea - Mussel Point, Zennor

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14 Sep 2013

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Sea recordings taken on a relatively short hike (not quite 9 miles but decidedly strenuous) from Port Isaac to Polzeath, Cornwall. The sea was rather rough but actually the underlying Atlantic swell was very modest.
  1. Sea writhing in Lundy Hole, near Port Quin, a rather spectacular collapsed sea cave, whose original entrance persists as a rock arch, but with a fairly large hole in the ground to landward of that. - 77' -- CD - Writhing Sea in Lundy Hole, Port Quin
  2. Gentle sea breaking on rocks, with some oystercatchers, from fairly low clifftop between Pentire Point and Polzeath. - 30'

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4 Sep 2013

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Either side of Wicca Pool, a rocky bay between St Ives and Zennor, Penwith, Cornwall - sea with quite intense blowhole activity despite the swell being generally only gentle. Really unusual and even spectacular soundscapes!
  1. Pair of recordings from the clifftop a little north of Mussel Point, in Economy Cove, over some really weird blowhole boomings, which are extremely frequent and sometimes pulsed, at times coming in bursts of three or four at close to two per second (!), though this pulsing proved not to show well in these particular recordings.
    1. Directly overlooking a narrow pulsing jet of spray associated with the pulsing booms - though the visible activity soon tailed off. - 55' -- (part) - CD - Cave boomings and blowhole, Economy Cove, Zennor (1)
    2. Concurrent recording made just a little further south (and down) on the clifftop, positioned to shield the recorder from the hissiness of the nearer sea action, so that the boomings can be heard more clearly. The sun eventually comes out and a very quiet ensemble of grasshoppers serenades us at times, while the very deep boomings continue. - 38' -- (part) - CD - Cave boomings and blowhole, Economy Cove, Zennor (1)
  2. Pair of recordings from Tregerthen Cliff, the headland on the SW side of the bay, with monumental booms coming across the bay from a powerful blowhole just this side of Mussel Point - which was out of sight from the above two recording positions.
    1. Overlooking quite near sea activity (itself getting rather thunderous at times), with Mussel Point to the right; some quiet foreground grasshoppers occasionally. This is the most spectacular and beautiful recording of the day. -  37' -- CD - Mussel Point Blowhole, from Tregerthen Cliff, Zennor
    2. Concurrent recording, made on a grassy position where it was shielded from the hissiness of the nearer sea activity; the odd grasshoppers quietly sounding in the foreground, but less than in the above recording. - 27' -- (part) - CD - Mussel Point Blowhole, from Tregerthen Cliff, Zennor

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28 Aug 2013

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By Levant mine ruins, and again by track just above Botallack Head engine house ruins (Penwith, Cornwall) - sea (all shielded from the most direct sea sound), some birds, and indeed grasshoppers; three exciting and beautifully detailed recordings, each with unusual features
  1. Beside very rugged clifftop prominence by Levant mine ruins, facing out over extremely rugged cliff gully with fairly intense sea activity below, but positioned a little back in order to shield it from the most direct sea sound and hear better its detail and mild 'thundering' aspect (in truth, the direct sea sound there is so fiercely hissy that most detail is lost in a recording, and for that very reason I discarded just such a recording there made on 25th Aug). Fairly late in the recording a large flock of small birds (probably linnets) settle on the cliffs fairly closely around, and then for the rest of the time they are all uttering their conversational little twitterings. - 44' -- CD - Thundering Seas Hemmed In by Rugged Cliffs
  2. Botallack Head, again just above the engine house ruins, but this time on a medium-height tripod on the landward side of the track, standing up from fairly long grass, so that it has a continual (not quite continuous) very gentle foreground sound of a quietly-'singing' species of grasshopper (these may be lost in the sea sound with inferior speakers, and especially without good stereo separation; I hardly hear them at all on my computer speakers). For a time Botallack Head's resident pair of choughs comes flying around, sounding quite spectacular. Also, at times there are the faint sweet little twitterings of what I take to be a flock of linnets high up in the crags towering above. - 50' --
  3. CD - Botallack Head - Thundering Sea  (1)
  4. Made concurrently with 2. Further up the same track, right on the clifftop, but on a small mini-tripod a little back from the very edge, shielding the recorder from the direct sea sound. If judged solely as a sea recording it would no doubt get a poor rating, but actually it is the sort of sound you would be hearing if you were enjoying yourself lying in the grass here to absorb the afternoon sunshine. The sea may sound quite a bit muffled like that, but you can hear 'below the surface' of the sound, so hearing all sorts of details you wouldn't otherwise hear, and you can much more clearly hear the flock of what I take to be linnets twittering away high up on the crags towering above. When the choughs come about they sound dramatically clear, and you can hear more of their distant calls than in 2. - 37' -- CD - Botallack Head - Thundering Sea  (2)

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25 Aug 2013

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Botallack Head, Penwith, Cornwall - sea (primarily), the odd birds, and indeed the odd grasshopper
  1. From Botallack Head, on the clifftop beside the track to the mine engine house ruins down on the cliff, just above those ruins, facing S, across a rugged small bay; the sea mildly thundering at times. - 43' -- (part) - CD - Botallack Head - Thundering Sea  (1)
  2. Made concurrently with 1., but on the landward side of the track, on a small mini-tripod in a slight mini-alcove in the cliff base rising up on that side of the track; this is extremely shielded from all direct sea sound, and the extreme closeness to the cliff immediately behind it causes a continuous very deep rumbling (from the sea but exaggerated by the cliff proximity), which is unpleasantly boomy in probably any but really high quality speakers. However, with the latter the sound has a real beauty and interest all of its own - and it makes the odd grasshopper 'singing', and eventually a group of ravens flying over, to sound dramatically clear and 'real'. - 38' -- CD - Botallack Head - Thundering Sea  (2)

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20 Aug 2013

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In the rugged and spectacular broad cove in the cliffs just SW of the Carn Vellan craggy spur, near Botallack Head, Penwith, Cornwall - beautifully wild and mildly thunderous sea churning and 'whoomphing' on the many cliff base prominences, which include a small natural arch. For a time some some rather distant chough calls can be heard. - 43' -- CD - Thundering Seas Hemmed In by Rugged Cliffs

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26 Jul 2013

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From clifftop slope of the WNW cliffs of Pordenack Point, SSE of Land's End - wind chimes with sea and birds
The chimes sound here is more 'forward' than I was aiming for - especially the Mars chimes - but it was not possible to position any of the chimes further from the recorder, so the recording balance was fixed. The sea and birds, therefore, take very much of a backstage perspective. Initially I did think of discarding these recordings because of this, especially in the light of the shrill nature of the sound of the Mars and Mercury chimes, which need listening to at a very modest volume in order for them not to be really fatiguing to listen to for long periods. However, with the level of these recordings set to a modest level, they very much hold their own as immensely beautiful and intriguingly musical experiences.
  1. Chimes of Pluto + Mars + Mercury - 37' -- CD - Wind Chimes in the Wild - Vol. 21
  2. Chimes of Pluto + Mars. - 37' -- CD - Wind Chimes in the Wild - Vol. 21
  3. Chimes of Pluto + Mercury. - 35' --  CD - Wind Chimes in the Wild - Vol. 23

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17 Jul 2013

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On bare and rugged clifftop prominence by Levant tin mine ruins, Pendeen, Penwith, Cornwall, overlooking Trewellard Zawn to Pendeen Watch - sea and wind chimes:
  1. Chimes of Pluto + Chimes of Polaris + Chimes of Mercury + Chimes of Mars (recorder facing sea, with chimes behind / beside it) - 43' -- CD - Wind Chimes in the Wild - Vol. 20
  2. The same, but with recorder facing away from the sea, so as to be facing the chimes. - 37' -- CD - Wind Chimes in the Wild - Vol. 20
  3. Same as 2., but minus the Chimes of Mars. - 51' -- CD - Wind Chimes in the Wild - Vol. 24

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14 Jul 2013

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Carn Leskys (crag below, by coast path), SSE of Cape Cornwall, Penwith, Cornwall:
  1. Sea and birds, featuring the local choughs; a very gentle sea breaking on rocks, with small waves and apparently more or less no Atlantic swell - 77' -- CD - Carn Leskys - Playground of the Choughs

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10 Jul 2013

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The Lizard, Cornwall - Bumble Rock headland, by Lizard Point - sea (rather choppy but with no obvious swell) and wind chimes:
  1. Chimes of Polaris + Chimes of Mars - 37' --  CD - Wind Chimes in the Wild - Vol. 23
  2. Chimes of Pluto + Chimes of Mars - 43' --  CD - Wind Chimes in the Wild - Vol. 19
  3. Chimes of Mercury + Chimes of Mars - 31' -- CD - Wind Chimes in the Wild - Vol. 19

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7 Jul 2013

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Clifftop between Pendeen Watch and the Levant Mine ruins, Penwith, Cornwall - sea (modest swell) on rocks, with wind chimes:
  1. Chimes of Mercury - 55'
  2. Chimes of Mars - 40'
These have both been cut down to fill: -- CD - Wind Chimes in the Wild - Vol. 18

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1 Jul 2013

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Boscastle, Cornwall - Willapark headland and Firebeacon Hill
  1. Willapark headland, west-facing crag-tops - wind chimes:
    1. Chimes of Polaris, Chimes of Mercury - 23' -- CD - Wind Chimes in the Wild - Vol. 12
    2. Chimes of Polaris, Chimes of Mars - 34' -- CD - Wind Chimes in the Wild - Vol. 22
    3. Chimes of Pluto, Chimes of Mercury, Chimes of Mars - 12' -- CD - Wind Chimes in the Wild - Vol. 17 (so short because the wind started blowing over the tripods suspending the chimes, so I abandoned recording there!)
  2. Firebeacon Hill, on north-east side of top of headland just SSW of the Ladies' Window, facing over a small but deep sea inlet, to Short Island and the Ladies' Window:
    1. Chimes of Polaris, Chimes of Mercury, the sea sound including deep booms and rumbles from sea caves in the cliffs - 54' -- CD - Wind Chimes in the Wild - Vol. 17
    2. Sea and birds, with really impressive deep booms and rumbles from the sea caves - 78' -- CD - Sea and Booming Cliffs, Firebeacon Hill, Boscastle

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26 Jun 2013

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Clifftops SSE of Land's End, Penwith, Cornwall - with choughs.
  1. On clifftop beside the rock island Enys Dodnan, facing it. A gentle sea but still with a good amount of interest in its arguments with the cliffs. Starts with a family group of choughs, who then fly off to Land's End but some 35 minutes later return and treat us to some of their antics. Other birds of note include great black-backed gull, jackdaw, rock pipit, and of course the ubiquitous herring gull. A beautiful recording - 64' -- CD - Sea and Birds by Land's End (1)
  2. Recorded concurrently with the above, a little distance further away from Land's End, and facing the taller cliffs that lead to Pordenack Point. The same bird species, including some late chough entertainment, but the sea sound is more dramatic - 51' -- CD - Sea and Birds by Land's End (2)
  3. A little further SSE, in the cliff alcove formed by the south cliff of the Carn Les Boel headland, overlooking Bosistow Island - a granite rock island with some very vocal herring gulls, one great black-backed gull (with young), some jackdaws and, yes, some choughs briefly and rather spectacularly sounding off - 18' -- CD - Sea and Birds by Land's End (2)

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25 Jun 2013

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Boscastle, Cornwall - Willapark headland and Firebeacon Hill
  1. A repeat of the 270-degree panorama that I recorded at this spot on the Willapark headland on 9 Jan 2013, unsurprisingly, with more birds this time - 44'
  2. Recorded concurrently with the above, from about 25 metres landward, facing more landward and with the right-hand part of the panorama (including the seagulls around Meachard rock island) blocked off. This picks up more land birds and more detail in the sea sound. Both these recordings are very peaceful - 34' -- CD -- Peaceful Sea Panoramas near Boscastle Coastguard Lookout
  3. On Firebeacon Hill, on its headland just SSW of the Ladies' Window: wind chimes (Chimes of Mars, first use), with somewhat muted sea and birds (muted because of recorder placement). It sounds strange and very special! - 39' -- CD - Wind Chimes in the Wild - Vol. 22
  4. Also on Firebeacon Hill, but on seaward steep spur of the Ladies' Window headland - birds on Short Island, a rock island fairly narrowly separated from the mainland. Lots of herring gull, but also quite a Bedlam of other seabirds, including some very obvious guillemots (really weird sound!) - 27' -- CD - Firebeacon Hill, Boscastle - Sea and Birds

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19 Jun 2013

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Aire Point, just north of Whitesand Bay, Sennen, Penwith, Cornwall
  1. Sea (small swell) and Chimes of Polaris plus Chimes of Pluto. Very beautiful, this combination of chimes being every bit as radiant and 'rainbow colour' as I had expected - 41' -- CD - Wind Chimes in the Wild - Vol. 12

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15 Jun 2013

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A little west of Droskyn Point, Perranporth, Cornwall
  1. From cliff edge just below coast path - a modest surf coming in from the west, to hit the cliffs of Droskyn Point and (further away) to be the surf of Perran Bay, with Chimes of Polaris - 38' -- CD - Wind Chimes in the Wild - Vol. 11

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9 Jun 2013

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By Gurnard's Head, Zennor, Cornwall
  1. Overlooking recess in cliff on the west side of Gurnard's Head - gentle sea with occasional faint deep booms and just the odd birds - 35' -- CD - Gentle Seas - Gurnard's Head and Firebeacon Hill

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5 Jun 2013

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Gwennap Head to Land's End, Cornwall - Sea (and wind chimes in 1 and 6)
  1. Sea and gentle Chimes of Pluto, in Zawn Rinny, a spectacular narrow cliff gully by Gwennap Head, south-east of Land's End - 18' -- CD - Wind Chimes in the Wild - Vol. 24
  2. Same spot, but no chimes, and eventually the sound of a pair of climbers on the other side of the gully - 43' -- CD - Booming Sea and Fulmars in Sheer Cliff Gully, Gwennap Head
  3. Surf breaking on beach and often hitting cliffs, at Nanjizal Bay (Mill Bay), between Gwennap Head and Land's End - recorded from prominence by stream (top of very slight waterfall - 13'
  4. Ditto, from clifftop to right of stream (facing sea) (sounds more thunderous than the other two recordings from this location) - 38' -- CD - Surf Breaking in Nanjizal Cove, near Land’s End
  5. Ditto, from lower clifftop to left of stream. - 39' -- CD - Surf Breaking in Nanjizal Cove, near Land’s End
  6. Surf breaking thunderously in narrow cove and cliff gully (and hitting cliffs and big rocks!) close to Land's End, with Chimes of Polaris - 61' -- CD - Wind Chimes in the Wild - Vol. 7
  7. Ditto, without chimes, and sounding a tad more thunderous - 77' -- CD - Sea Dramatics by Land's End (1)
The latter two recordings are really spectacular when listened to with high quality equipment with good stereo separation.

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1 Jun 2013

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Between Tintagel and Boscastle, Cornwall - Sea, wind and birds (and wind chimes in 1 and 2)
  1. On Firebeacon Hill minor headland just SW of Ladies' Window, facing Long Island, with rather distant Chimes of Polaris - 48'
  2. Almost same spot, but the recorder more exposed to the sea sound, and the chimes closer - 44' -- CD - Wind Chimes in the Wild - Vol. 11
  3. Just by the above headland, facing across a dip before the next minor headland, with Long Island to right - 37'
  4. On crag on SW side of Boscastle's Willapark headland - sea and birds (mostly Chaffinch) - 37' -- CD - From a Boscastle Clifftop - Springtime Sea and birds (2)
  5. Ditto, but the most inland of the crags, and the recorder actually placed in a small recess in the crag; includes nice sound of wind in tufts of grass close to recorder. - 46'

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26 May 2013

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Dartmoor, Devon - birds (and wind chimes in 3rd recording)
  1. In Taw valley, a little upstream from Belstone, from lower slope of Belstone Tors (quiet and very beautiful, with the odd cuckoo here and there) - 62'
    (I've spliced the last 15 minutes of the similar recording from 18 May onto the end of this -- CD - Dartmoor Natural Soundscapes - Vol. 8 - 77').
  2. Ditto, different position, with steep boulder slope behind, and pointing more upstream - 52'
  3. By Black Ridge Brook, just as on 20 Apr, but with only a little singing by the skylarks, but with distant Chimes of Polaris - 58'
    -- CD - Wind Chimes in the Wild - Vol. 10

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25 May 2013

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Between Tintagel and Boscastle, Cornwall - Sea, wind and birds (and wind chimes in 3rd recording)
  1. On Firebeacon Hill minor headland just SW of Ladies' Window, facing Long Island - 16' -- CD - Firebeacon Hill, Boscastle - Sea and Birds
  2. Just by the above headland, facing across a dip before the next minor headland, with Long Island to right - 18' -- CD - Firebeacon Hill, Boscastle - Sea and Birds
  3. On cliff edge by Ladies' Window, with new, small wind chimes (Woodstock Chimes of Polaris) set up on a tripod (very beautiful!) - 39'

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22 May 2013

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Between Tintagel and Boscastle, Cornwall - Sea, wind and birds
From just by the Firebeacon Hill minor headland just west of the Ladies' Window - 14' -- CD - Firebeacon Hill, Boscastle - Sea and Birds

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18 May 2013

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Dartmoor - Birds and background river in Taw valley a little upstream from Belstone (my first recordings in which cuckoos have appeared!)
  1. On top of mossy drystone wall in lightly wooded stretch of valley bottom - 34' -- CD - Dartmoor Natural Soundscapes - Vol. 7
  2. Ditto, about 75 metres further along - 20' -- CD - Dartmoor Natural Soundscapes - Vol. 7
  3. Well up on the very bouldery lower slopes of Belstone Tors, overlooking where the above two recordings were made. Very quiet, all birds being more or less distant, and a real sense of being perched high up and overlooking a big panorama. - 33' -- CD (first 18') - Dartmoor Natural Soundscapes - Vol. 7; (final 15') - Dartmoor Natural Soundscapes - Vol. 8

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6 May 2013

Remotest Dartmoor - skylarks
  1. Among the peat hags on top of Cut Hill - skylarks and wind - 41' -- CD - Dartmoor Natural Soundscapes - Vol. 2
  2. Ditto, different position, less sheltered, and with the wind blowing through small clumps of rushes nearby - 28' -- CD - Dartmoor Natural Soundscapes - Vol. 2
  3. Ditto, no rushes but the rustling of dead remains of last year's growth of purple moor grass in the stronger wind gusts - 22' -- CD - Dartmoor Natural Soundscapes - Vol. 2 (using just 8' of this recording)
  4. Ditto - 24'

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30 Apr 2013

Branscombe Landslip, South Devon coast
  1. From a high vantage point in tree up on the cliff side of the coast path: birds, wind, with eventual sea sound echoing on the cliff towering above - 2h 18'
  2. From a rather less high vantage point in tree up on the detached-great-chunk-of-cliff side of coast path: birds and wind, with eventual quiet sea sound echoing on main cliff - 56'
  3. From beside the coast path, on small tripod, at ground vegetation height: birds and wind with the odd bumblebee and fly, but little sea sound - 55'
    Hooken undercliff, next to Branscombe landslip
  4. From tree by coast path, facing Hooken Cliff: birds, with fulmars and ravens prominent on / around the cliff, and the sound of waves breaking on the pebble beach sending echoes passing from left to right along the cliff - 54' -- CD - Springtime in Hooken Undercliff
  5. Ditto, from tree some 75 metres further down to SW, with rather louder sea sound - 18' -- CD - Springtime in Hooken Undercliff
  6. Ditto, from midway between the other two positions, using small tripod and thus at ground vegetation height - 37'

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27 Apr 2013

Branscombe Landslip, from high vantage point - birds, with sea sound reverberating on cliff to make it sound as though the whole landslip is breathing - 65'
 

24 Apr 2013

North Cornwall coast between Crackington Haven and Boscastle - sea, wind and birds
  1. Beside coast path near bottom of High Cliff, in the steep-sided defile between High Cliff and Rusey Cliff - 40' -- CD - Clifftop Birds near Rusey Cliff
  2. Clifftop a little west of Rusey Cliff: skylarks a particular feature - 23' -- CD - Clifftop Birds and Wildness near Rusey Cliff
  3. Ditto: simultaneous to 2., some 100 metres further on - 20' -- CD - Clifftop Birds and Wildness near Rusey Cliff
    Beeny Cliff - alcove in cliff, where the coast path has been rerouted to go higher to avoid the exposure right along the edge of this
  4. Sea with quiet cave boomings, from the top edge of the alcove - 35'
  5. Ditto, from just above the rerouted coast path, so with the sea sound more muted and gentle - 21' -- CD - Beeny Cliff - Gentle Sea with Cave Boomings
  6. Ditto, from slightly down on NE side of alcove, shielded from the direct sea sound at the caves - 16' -- CD - Beeny Cliff - Gentle Sea with Cave Boomings
  7. Ditto, simultaneous with part of 4., well down on SW side of alcove, facing tall narrow cave that is not seen at all from above - 24' -- CD - Beeny Cliff - Sea Gently Booming in Cave
  8. Ditto, virtually the same position, but some slight difference of placing has caused a big increase in level of very low frequencies (booms and thumps) recorded - 38' -- CD - Beeny Cliff - Sea Gently Booming in Cave

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20 Apr 2013

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Remotest Dartmoor - skylarks
  1. By Black Ridge Brook: skylarks with background muted water sound - 34' -- CD - Dartmoor Natural Soundscapes, Vol. 1
  2. Ditto, different position, simultaneous with 1. - 41' -- CD - Dartmoor Natural Soundscapes, Vol. 1
  3. Black Ridge Brook, with only the odd hint of skylarks audible, simultaneous with later part of 2. - 27' -- CD - Dartmoor Natural Soundscapes - Vol. 9 (Dartmoor Streams - In Valley Copse and Open Moor)
  4. On top of Cut Hill: skylarks - 4'42 -- (part of) CD - Dartmoor Natural Soundscapes - Vol. 4 (From Enclosed Valley to Open Moor)

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19 Apr 2013

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Dartmoor - East Okement Valley - birds and water
  1. In wooded steep-sided part of valley
    Well up west side: birds, with the East Okement River tumbling over boulders below - 32' -- CD - Dartmoor Natural Soundscapes - Vol. 3 (Birds and Tumbling Water in East Okement Valley)
  2. Ditto, but a little further upstream and less high up the valley side - 42' -- CD - Dartmoor Natural Soundscapes - Vol. 3 (Birds and Tumbling Water in East Okement Valley)
  3. Simultaneous with 2., but by the river, so this is a recording of the river tumbling over boulders with only a little bird sound to be heard - 36' -- CD - Dartmoor Natural Soundscapes - Vol. 4 (From Enclosed Valley to Open Moor)


Still in East Okement valley but out on open moor just above where the river enters the wooded section
  1. Close by river, but facing up the open valley side: birds, with fairly strong water sound in background - 16' -- CD - Dartmoor Natural Soundscapes - Vol. 4 (From Enclosed Valley to Open Moor)
  2. Simultaneous with 4., from higher up on open valley side; birds with the river sound quieter, and more feel of open space - 17' -- CD - Dartmoor Natural Soundscapes - Vol. 4 (From Enclosed Valley to Open Moor)
    In the lowest part of the Black-a-ven Brook tributary valley, much more out in open moorland but with some trees lining the south side of this tributary valley
  3. Moderately close to the Black-a-ven Brook, sheltered by clumps of rushes: sound of the brook plus wind in the rushes, plus a chaffinch - 11' -- CD - Dartmoor Natural Soundscapes - Vol. 9 (Dartmoor Streams - In Valley Copse and Open Moor)
  4. A bit closer to the Black-a-ven Brook, and a little more upstream, again with a single chaffinch - 22' -- CD - Dartmoor Natural Soundscapes - Vol. 9 (Dartmoor Streams - In Valley Copse and Open Moor)

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15 Apr 2013

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(3 CDs)

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(Vols 13-16)

By Hunter's Path, in woods above Fingle Bridge, Teign Gorge
  1. Birds - 26'
    Wind chimes, with birds and increasing windiness:
  2. Olympos - 5' -- CD - Wind Chimes in the Wild - Vol. 13.
  3. Olympos, rather distant - 30' -- CD - Wind Chimes in the Wild - Vol. 13.
  4. Olympos (new position) - 29' -- CD - Wind Chimes in the Wild - Vol. 15.
  5. Pluto - 42' -- CD - Wind Chimes in the Wild - Vol. 15.
  6. Pluto + Gypsy Soprano - 35' -- CD - Wind Chimes in the Wild - Vol. 14.
  7. Ditto, distant - 30' -- CD - Wind Chimes in the Wild - Vol. 13.
  8. Olympos + Gypsy Soprano (weird!) - 34' -- CD - Wind Chimes in the Wild - Vol. 14.
  9. Olympos + Gregorian - 32' -- CD - Wind Chimes in the Wild - Vol. 16.
  10. Pluto + Olympos + Gregorian - 32' -- CD - Wind Chimes in the Wild - Vol. 16.
  11. Birds, increasing wind (eventually near gale-force gusts), and increasingly noticeable distant wind chimes - one long recording simultaneous with 4 to 10 above, split as follows:
    77', 77', 68' -- 3 CDs - Springtime Above Fingle Bridge - Birds, Wind and distant Wind Chimes - Vols 1, 2, 3. A wonderful springtime celebration!

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6 Apr 2013

Alcove in Beeny Cliff, between Crackington Haven and Boscastle, Cornwall - gentle very deep regular rumbling booms from sea cave below.
To me this recording feels to be too short! Although the sound is quiet and gentle, it has an unusual and beautiful - even haunting - aspect, with the booming sounding eerily like a very slow and deep breathing. - 32' --  CD - Beeny Cliff - Gentle Sea with Cave Boomings

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5 Mar 2013

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Teign Gorge, Drewsteignton, Devon - Hunter's Path, then Hunter's Tor, and finally beside the River Teign immediately upstream of the steep-sided part of the valley - Wind chimes and birds. Chimes were Bamboo (large + small), Gypsy (Mezzo + Soprano), and Pluto. My first set of recordings beginning to get a satisfying amount of early spring bird sound to mix in with the chimes.
  1. Birds high up in woods above Fingle Bridge, with River Teign far below, from by Hunter's Path - 16' -- CD - Dartmoor Natural Soundscapes - Vol. 6 (Birds Above and Beside the River Teign)
  2. Wind Chimes - Bamboo, Gypsy Mezzo & Soprano chimes - and birds, from by Hunter's Path - 29' -- CD - Wind Chimes in the Wild, Vol. 4
  3. Distant wind chimes - Bamboo, Pluto, Gypsy Mezzo & Soprano chimes - and birds, from by Hunter's Path (position 1) - Here we really begin to hear how mysterious and melancholy the Gypsy chimes sound at a distance. - 30' -- CD - Wind Chimes in the Wild, Vol. 4
  4. Distant Wind Chimes - Bamboo, Gypsy Mezzo & Soprano chimes - and birds, from by Hunter's Path, Teign Gorge (position 2) - Much further removed from the chimes, the recorder is sitting on a tree branch surrounded by twigs with still-attached dead leaves, so this is a great wind recording, with the very distant Gypsy chimes coming in and out of focus - to me a tremendously beautiful and haunting recording, and I only wish I'd hung on and recorded this for a full half-hour! - 10' -- CD - Wind Chimes in the Wild, Vol. 4
  5. River Teign from south end of Hunter's Tor, Teign Gorge - 27' -- planned CD - Dartmoor Natural Soundscapes - Vol. 14 (Teign Gorge - Overlooking River Teign in Autumn and Spring)
  6. River Teign and birds in early spring - 48' -- CD - Dartmoor Natural Soundscapes - Vol. 6 (Birds Above and Beside the River Teign)
  7. River Teign with wind chimes (Pluto, Gypsy Mezzo & Soprano) and birds - A particularly 'sweet' combination and balance, with relatively gentle chimes sound. - 26'-- CD -Wind Chimes in the Wild, Vol. 5
  8. River Teign with wind chimes (Gypsy Mezzo & Soprano) and birds - The wind was easing down, and the chimes activity is subdued, but the river and birds maintain interest. - 24' -- CD -Wind Chimes in the Wild, Vol. 5

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18 Feb 2013

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Recordings in the Teign Gorge (Hunter's Tor) and by the River Teign just upstream from the steep-sided part of the valley - wind chimes, some birds, and of course the River Teign.
  1. At Hunter's Tor - fairly windy
    1. Bamboo chimes (large + small). - 26' -- CD - Wind Chimes in the Wild, Vol. 32
    2. Chorus of wind chimes - Bamboo (large + small), Pluto, Gypsy Mezzo & Soprano chimes. Yes, a whole and indeed long CD's worth in just one recording! A quite spectacular, exhilarating and challenging major 'symphony' of five sets of wind chimes and wind, with background water sound, and with three completely different musical scales variously pitted against or working with each other. - 75' -- CD - Wind Chimes in the Wild, Vol. 2
  2. Three recordings of the River Teign, with bits and pieces of wind chimes and bird sound. A great sound to go to sleep by, for people who regard my normal run of wind chimes recordings too 'frisky' for that purpose!
    1. River Teign with wind chimes - Pluto chimes - Of this series of three, this has the most chimes sound, but virtually no obvious birdsong. - 9'
    2. River Teign with a hint of wind chimes (Pluto, Gypsy Mezzo & Soprano) and birds - The chimes sound is very sparing, but at least with some bird sound.- 23' -- CD -Wind Chimes in the Wild, Vol. 5
    3. River Teign with a hint of wind chimes (Gypsy Mezzo & Soprano) and birds -  Of this series of three, this has the least chimes sound, but at least has some bird sound as compensation! - 32'

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16 Feb 2013

Small surf breaking on sandy beach by Chapel Porth, Cornwall
The tide was much further in than in my previous recording from this spot, so the sound of the breaking of individual waves is much more differentiated. Thus in playback this sounds particularly good with a wide stereo separation. The sound is delicate, not thundering or dramatic. - 36'

 

6 Feb 2013

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Teign Gorge, Drewsteignton, Devon - wind chimes. Available chimes this time were Gypsy (Mezzo and Soprano), Gregorian, and Pluto.
  1. Windy conditions in the valley-top woods above Fingle Bridge (same spot as in my 30 January recordings) but not a gale this time, with some strong gusts but peaceful interludes too. Particularly clear and three-dimensional sound. N.B. The first recording I made in this session was of both the Gypsy chimes with the Gregorian chimes, but I found that combination to be so discordant that I deleted that recording.
    1. Gypsy Mezzo, Soprano chimes - 32'-- CD - Wind Chimes in the Wild, Vol. 25
    2. Gypsy Mezzo chimes - 20'-- CD - Wind Chimes in the Wild, Vol. 25
    3. Gregorian Tenor chimes - This recording has more peaceful interludes than the preceding two recordings, because the wind was gradually easing during the day. - 28' -- CD - Wind Chimes in the Wild, Vol. 25
  2. Chimes in the valley bottom, beside the River Teign. The river is noisy in the recordings below, because (a) the recording locations were just a little downstream of a weir with fish ladder (the Drogo Weir), (b) the river is vociferously 'babbling' as it tumbles over boulders nearer the recorder, and (c) the river is still quite full after recent periods of heavy rain. These recordings are best perceived NOT as poor or 'failed' wind chimes recordings but as recordings of the river sound with embedded wind chimes, which latter come to the fore now and again, when more pronounced gusts of wind make them more frisky.
    1. Gregorian chimes (1) - 14'-- CD - Wind Chimes in the Wild, Vol. 6
    2. Gregorian chimes (2) - 15'-- CD - Wind Chimes in the Wild, Vol. 6
    3. Gregorian chimes (3) - 15'-- CD - Wind Chimes in the Wild, Vol. 6
    4. Gypsy Soprano chimes - 11' -- CD - Wind Chimes in the Wild, Vol. 6
    5. Gregorian chimes (4) - 13' -- CD - Wind Chimes in the Wild, Vol. 6

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30 Jan 2013

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Teign Gorge, Drewsteignton, Devon, high up in valley woods above Fingle Bridge - a spectacular session with wind chimes!
These are NOT 'failed' wind chimes recordings, but spectacular recordings of a GALE roaring its way in monstrous gusts through the tree branches above and around me, with the sound of wind chimes intermingled with that commotion - sometimes coming to the forefront and at other times being almost completely drowned out by particularly monstrous gusts. This recording session was again high up on the north side of the Teign Gorge, Devon (in the north-east outskirts of the Dartmoor National Park), but this time, because of the very strong wind I didn't bother to go to my previous recording spots further on there, which would probably have been much too windy, but kept just within the woods well up above Fingle Bridge.
  1. Chimes of Pluto with Gypsy Soprano + Mezzo chimes - 39'-- CD - Wind Chimes in the Wild, Vol. 3
  2. Chimes of Pluto with Gypsy Soprano chimes - 35'
  3. Chimes of Pluto with Gypsy Mezzo chimes - 36' -- CD - Wind Chimes in the Wild, Vol. 26
  4. Chimes of Pluto - 34' -- CD - Wind Chimes in the Wild, Vol. 26
  5. Gypsy Soprano chimes - 31'
  6. Gypsy Mezzo chimes - 30'
  7. Gypsy Soprano + Mezzo chimes - 35'-- CD - Wind Chimes in the Wild, Vol. 3
  8. Roaring GALE, without chimes - The monstrous wind gusts roar their way through the tree branches above and around me in my relatively sheltered spot, and at times seem to be threatening to blow me to 'infinity'! - 34'

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9 Jan 2013

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Boscastle - Willapark headland, by Coastguard lookout
270-degree hilltop sea / cliffs panorama, Willapark headland, Boscastle. Taken on the south-western tip of the top of the Willapark headland (where the coastguard lookout is), on the south-western side of the mouth of Boscastle Harbour (Cornwall, UK). A peaceful extensive aural panorama of the sea pounding mostly distant cliffs all round. - 42' -- CD -- Peaceful Sea Panoramas near Boscastle Coastguard Lookout

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5 Jan 2013


Sea dramatics on steep cliff slope just to SW of Shag Rock headland, Perranporth, Cornwall
  1. Like the previous recording there (18 Dec 2012), and taken at exactly the same spot, on a very low decaying drystone wall that runs down the precariously steep cliff slope below the coast path - but the waves were slightly larger this time, and the sound is overall somewhat more thunderous. Reason for brevity of this recording was that at that stage I still had only one recorder, and terminated this recording as soon as I'd discovered a potentially more exciting spot to place it. - 13' -- CD - Sea dramatics at Shag Rock (2)
  2. Taken at a different spot to the previous Shag Rock recordings, rather further removed from Shag Rock, but precariously lower down the steep cliff slope, on the narrow track following a buried sewage pipe, close to the actual cliff top and nearer to some particularly thunderous wave activity. - 43' This is a real corker! -- CD - Sea dramatics at Shag Rock (2)

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18 Dec 2012

(a) Surf breaking on sandy beach between Porthtowan and Chapel Porth, Cornwall
(b) Sea dramatics on steep cliff slope just to SW of Shag Rock headland, Perranporth, Cornwall

  1. Surf breaking on sandy beach between Porthtowan and Chapel Porth - Notionally similar to the previous recording near Chapel Porth (below), but made higher up on a broad cliff top, so that the sea is more distant and the high frequencies in the sound (i.e., the 'hiss' component) are more subdued and thus the roaring and thundering quality of the sound is more pronounced. - 35' -- CD - Surf breaking on sandy beaches near Chapel Porth
  2. Taken at exactly the same spot as the previous two Shag Rock recordings, this finds the sea similar to the first occasion there, but possibly a little more dramatic - though the action does gradually ease a bit as the recording goes on. -37' -- CD - Sea dramatics at Shag Rock (1)

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28 Nov 2012

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Wind Chimes in the Wild - CD cover image

Teign Gorge, Drewsteignton, Devon, above the Hunter's Path high up on the valley slope, near Sharp Tor, near Castle Drogo, but higher up, almost at top of the hill - first use of Music of the Spheres Gypsy chimes, also with bamboo chimes
The Music of the Spheres Gypsy chimes take us into a completely different sound world from that of the Woodstock chimes, which latter I had been using exclusively before. Because of their rather ungrounding type of sound, I particularly wanted them to have a prominent background sound from the River Teign, which was still fairly loud on this day. However, the wind was in the wrong direction and I had to go a bit further up the slope almost to the top of the hill to get sufficient wind - and that meant that what recordings I could make got only a faint and not particularly noticeable background from that slight low rushing sound. They do, however, get some welcome wind sound in the surrounding trees, and they also get some distant cow moos, and one of the recordings gets a really neatly timed mini-drama from two male blackbirds. Also, the bamboo chimes (large + small sets) were a welcome grounding influence, though abandoned for the fifth recording.
  1. Gypsy Soprano + Mezzo, + Bamboo chimes (1) - The first c. 10 minutes of the recording have only gentle wind and quiet mysterious sound from the chimes, after which the wind got up and I thought was getting too consistently strong, which is why I repeated the recording (see below). - 25'
  2. Gypsy Soprano + Mezzo,+ Bamboo chimes (2) - I repeated the previous recording (above) on a nearby very slightly lower tree, which got the wind in phases and gusts, so giving me the variability that I wanted for the most effective recordings. From a distance the two sets of Gypsy Chimes sounded like a mysterious ghostly distant organ playing, and various walkers passing by stopped, transfixed by the sound. - 26' -- CD - Wind Chimes in the Wild, Vol. 8
  3. Gypsy Soprano, + Bamboo chimes - 29'-- CD - Wind Chimes in the Wild, Vol. 8
  4. Gypsy Mezzo, + Bamboo chimes - The Gypsy Mezzo chimes have an incredibly doleful sound on their own, much more ponderous than the quite lively Soprano version. This contains a beautiful and entertaining little interlude in which two blackbirds add their own little drama. - 27' -- CD - Wind Chimes in the Wild, Vol. 8
  5. Gypsy Soprano + Mezzo chimes (only) - Again, at a distance, sounding like that ghostly distant organ playing. The wind was gradually easing off, so the chimes sound becomes gentler and the distant cow moos get noticed more. - 30'

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21 Nov 2012

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Wind Chimes in the Wild - CD cover image

Wind Chimes in the Wild - CD cover image

Teign Gorge, Drewsteignton, Devon, by the Hunter's Path high up on the valley slope, at Sharp Tor, near Castle Drogo - Woodstock wind chimes and cheap, locally purchased bamboo chimes (large and small sets).
My recordings of this particular day are graced by a particularly prominent background sound from the River Teign. Indeed, I came to think of this day as 'Flood Wednesday', as it followed heavy rain the previous day and through the night to early that morning, and it caused major flooding problems in many places, and consequently also the River Teign was very full and making a fair amount of noise coming through the valley.
  1. Bamboo chimes (large + small) - When I made this recording I thought the sound of the bamboo chimes on their own was not all that interesting, and so did not make a long recording of it - but, upon actually listening to it on my own hi-fi system at home I regretted not having made it at least a full half hour. This dry, scuttling, 'rustic' sort of sound, along with the wind and the background of distant rushing water, is, in its own way, quite as beautiful to listen to in the midst of the wind gusts as the refined (and expensive) metal chimes. - 13' -- CD - Wind Chimes in the Wild, Vol. 32
  2. Bamboo + Pluto chimes - 35' -- CD - Wind Chimes in the Wild, Vol. 27
  3. Bamboo + Gregorian chimes - 37'
  4. Bamboo + Gregorian + Pluto chimes - 29'-- CD - Wind Chimes in the Wild, Vol. 27
  5. Gregorian + Pluto chimes (4) - 34'
  6. Gregorian chimes (2) - 27'

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19 Nov 2012

Surf breaking on sandy beach by Chapel Porth, St Agnes, Cornwall
A standard recording of this type of subject - except that, again, it is recorded from an exposed footpath contouring a very steep cliff slope, at the top of a nearly sheer cliff, again with the cliff and slope acting as resonator for the very low frequencies in the sound. - 38' -- CD - Surf breaking on sandy beaches near Chapel Porth

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14 Nov 2012

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Wind Chimes in the Wild - CD cover image

Wind Chimes in the Wild - CD cover image

Teign Gorge, Drewsteignton, Devon, by the Hunter's Path high up on the valley slope, suspended on a tree beside the path, near Sharp Tor, near Castle Drogo - Woodstock chimes
  1. Gregorian Tenor chimes - 13'
  2. Olympos chimes - 18'
  3. Gregorian + Pluto chimes (2) - This was actually a false start of what I had meant to be a half-hour recording, for after a few minutes I decided I wanted to reposition the chimes and start again. During this short recording there was only a little wind, and so this is a nice gentle 'prelude' type of piece. - 6'
  4. Gregorian + Pluto chimes (3) - Got it right this time, and also the wind obliged and woke up a fair bit more. - 29' -- CD - Wind Chimes in the Wild, Vol. 1
  5. Olympos + Gregorian + Pluto chimes - The most beautiful combination of chimes that I'd heard up to this point! The Olympos chimes ensure that the overall effect is deeply sad, yet the Gregorian chimes add abundance and variety to that sadness experience, always with the Pluto chimes sounding like a commentating chorus in some Ancient Greek tragedy. - 35' -- CD - Wind Chimes in the Wild, Vol. 9
  6. Olympos + Gregorian chimes - The effect here without the Pluto chimes is weightier in sound, yet not so strongly emotional - and of course still mightily beautiful. - 36' -- CD - Wind Chimes in the Wild, Vol. 9

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11 Nov 2012

Sea dramatics on steep cliff slope just to SW of Shag Rock headland, Perranporth, Cornwall
Taken at the same spot as the previous recording there, but with smaller swell but the sea superficially rougher, and the tide rather higher, so that the Shag Rock blowhole is active (impressive deep roaring whoomphs). - 29' -- CD - Sea dramatics at Shag Rock, Perranporth, Cornwall (1)

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6 Nov 2012

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Wind Chimes in the Wild - CD cover image

Teign Gorge, Drewsteignton, Devon, by the Hunter's Path high up on the valley slope, (1) suspended on a tree beside the path, near Sharp Tor, near Castle Drogo, and the other two recordings at Sharp Tor - Woodstock precision tuned metal chimes
  1. Chimes of Pluto - The spot I chose for this, my first wind chimes recording, turned out to be a little too exposed to the wind on this particular day, and so this recording is friskier than I would generally aim for. However, I was pleasantly surprised to find that the strong gusts of wind in the microphones still enhanced rather than spoiled the recording - seeing that it was meant to be a natural soundscape with chimes, rather than just a wind chimes recording. - 12' -- CD - Wind Chimes in the Wild, Vol. 1
  2. Chimes of Olympos + Chimes of Pluto - This was a real ear-opener for me! Putting these two sets of chimes together produces an incredibly beautiful but also, to my ears, immensely sad sound, which the wind works in such a way as to seem to be telling some very sad story. The full effect comes from listening to the full recording rather than just an excerpt. - 30' -- CD - Wind Chimes in the Wild, Vol. 1
  3. Gregorian Tenor chimes + Chimes of Pluto - Again, the Chimes of Pluto are transformed when heard alongside the Gregorian Chimes, and the emotional effect of the combination, although not exactly sad, does seem to have an intense 'romantic' quality about it - though this is better heard in the subsequent recordings I made of this combination (the wind was easing off a bit by this time). - 14'

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21 Oct 2012

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(a) Fairly large surf breaking at Lushington Cove, Porthtowan, Cornwall
(b) Sea dramatics from steep cliff slope just to SW of Shag Rock headland, Perranporth, Cornwall

  1. Big surf breaking at Lushington Cove, Porthtowan - Recorded at an elevated position high up on an exposed track obliquely contouring a cliff face, where the latter is acting as resonator for the very low frequency sound from the surf. -- CD - Surf breaking in Lushington Cove, Porthtowan
  2. Shag Rock sea dramatics - A marvellous location, where the sound of the swell coming in and throwing tantrums at the obstinate cliffs has a particularly dramatic and thundering quality and is quite thrilling; I shall no doubt periodically make recordings here, exploiting a variety of sea conditions. Recording made as far down as I dared, on top of a very low decaying drystone wall that runs down the precariously steep and somewhat convex cliff slope just SW of the Shag Rock headland, which gives way to sheer cliff not far below. - 16' -- CD - Sea dramatics at Shag Rock, Perranporth, Cornwall (2)

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8 Sep 2012

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(a) On clifftop by Ladies' Window, Firebeacon Hill, near Boscastle, Cornwall
(b) In mouth of Rocky Valley, near Tintagel, Cornwall

  1. Clifftop by Ladies' Window - Relatively gentle sea on complex rugged cliffs. A distant small fishing boat and a speedboat can be heard at different times - actually enhancing rather than spoiling the recording, as they help to give a sense of perspective and balance. - 38' -- CD - Gentle Seas - Gurnard's Head and Firebeacon Hill
  2. In mouth of Rocky Valley - Gentle sea in very narrow inlet, with constant background sound of the stream tumbling over rocks and into the inlet. This is a very 'white-noisy' (i.e., hissy-sounding) soundscape. - 33'

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28 Jun 2012

Gentle night rain with a hint of seagulls and thunder
Taken in the small hours, when I was hoping for a real storm to come over, which actually did not happen. This still makes a quite delightful bit of peaceful ambience, with that teasing slight menace of the very distant and much of the time hardly audible mumblings of thunder. - 21' -- CD - Gentle Rain with Thunder and Birds

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20 Jun 2012

Penally Point and vicinity, Boscastle Harbour, Cornwall - gentle sea.
  1. Over mouth of Boscastle Harbour from Penally Point (harbour side) - Gentle sea on complex rugged cliffs. - 11' -- CD - Gentle sea at Penally Point, Boscastle Harbour
  2. Over mouth of Boscastle Harbour from tip of Penally Point -Gentle sea on complex rugged cliffs. - 16' -- CD - Gentle sea at Penally Point, Boscastle Harbour
  3. Waves on rugged cliff, Penally Point - Gentle sea on complex rugged cliffs, but much closer at hand, on seaward side of promontory (including seaward aspect of the blowhole, which was not active on this occasion), where the sea makes many gentle deep thumps in fissures, undercuts and small caves. - 11' -- CD - Gentle sea at Penally Point, Boscastle Harbour
  4. Waves on rugged cliff, Penally Point (2) -Same spot as last recording, but recorder differently positioned, facing out to sea, with seaward aspect of blowhole to left. - 31' -- CD - Gentle sea at Penally Point, Boscastle Harbour

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17 Jun 2012

My very first natural soundscape recordings! - Made during a walk on the coast path from Crackington Haven to Boscastle, Cornwall - gentle sea throughout.
  1. Sea on north side of Cambeak - Gentle sea on complex rugged cliffs, near Crackington Haven. My first recording (i.e., high quality natural soundscape one)! - 10'
  2. Walking over Cambeak and a little beyond - Starting from the exact location of the above recording, I walked over Cambeak, pausing on top of the hill, then continuing some way towards The Strangles, using the mini-tripod as a crude 'pistol grip' for the recorder, and pointing it in whichever direction I turned my head. I got exposed to some fairly strong wind. - 9'
  3. Stonechats on clifftop - A few of them were uttering their little alarm calls as they flitted about a small gorse thicket near Buckator, with a distant constant rumble of the sea, and some wind noise in the microphones. Another hand-held recording - 1½'
  4. Sea at alcove in Beeny Cliff - Gentle deeper sea against undercut cliff, between Crackington Haven and Boscastle; some microphone wind noise. - 9'
  5. Sea at Penally Point, Boscastle - Gentle sea on complex rugged cliffs. At one point you can hear a couple of young children pass by, really excited at seeing the sea beyond the rugged, craggy rocks. - 13'

 

  Appendix


Wind Chimes in the Wild -
Symphonies of Wind Chimes and Nature

So far, the larger chimes have all been recorded hung on low tree branches at the Teign Gorge, Drewsteignton, Devon, in the north-east outskirts of the Dartmoor National Park, either overlooking that steep sided valley or beside the River Teign at the bottom, so that they have varying amounts of background noise from the River Teign, either far below (tumbling over rocks) or close by - and of course wind. The wind sounds include the sound of wind in the microphones, which in this particular case generally enhances the recordings, including the odd occasions where it feels as though one is about to get blown away.

The smaller chimes, which are more practical to carry in my pack on real hikes, have been recorded at various locations at the edge of various particularly wild and rugged Cornish cliffs, as well as combined with certain of the larger chimes at the Teign Gorge.

Please note that these recordings are (deliberately) of natural soundscapes including wind chimes. What they are NOT is simply wind chimes recordings. Therefore it is inappropriate for people to go criticizing them because of, say, wind noise, river or sea noise, bird calls or cow moos, and neither is it appropriate for anyone to offer to 'clean up' any of the recordings for me, as one person did, presumably in the hope of gaining some sort of approval from me!

 

The chimes so far used are:

Recording bamboo and Gregorian chimes
at Sharp Tor, Teign Gorge
(the small bamboo set is hidden behind the larger one)


Recording Pluto (left) and Gregorian chimes
at Sharp Tor, Teign Gorge

Recording Gypsy Mezzo chimes, accompanied by bamboo chimes (small, left; large, right),
virtually at the top of the Teign Gorge valley slope, during the 28 Nov 2012 session






 

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