This piece was composed for the ‘In The Field’ concert at WAAPA in October. This concert was based around field recording and its use in composition. While in Kalbarri and Shark Bay over the mid-year break, I spent time exploring different sonic environments and taking recordings to use as material for the piece. The most compelling subject matter I found was Shell Beach at Shark Bay. The beach surrounds a large, shallow bay, which has an extremely high salt content due to greater evaporations rates. This high salinity renders the bay unliveable to most species; however, coquina shellfish thrive in these conditions, and billions of them fill the bay. The beach is covered with tiny shells, instead of sand, which creates a unique soundscape, quite different to anything I had encountered before. Whether walking on the shore, listening to the waves lapping the shoreline, or moving the shells to create sounds. I recorded everything with my Zoom H6, and began writing the piece once I returned to WAAPA in second semester.
To begin the composition process, I sorted through the recordings and began exploring ways to structure the piece. When working with field recordings, and particularly when using“the paulstretch algorithm, which gives it an ambient, ethereal sound. Both of these sounds are manipulated overtime with a delay effect, which is automated to adjust the delay time as the piece progresses. The delay echoes the sound back at shorter and shorter intervals, until they become so regular that they are heard as a single frequency. They then begin to move farther apart again, so creating subharmonics which become apparent towards the end of the piece.
The other sounds are also built out of recordings. The most significant of these are bursts of low frequency noise that punctuate and divide the piece into sections. These sounds are recordings of me walking on the beach, which are then compressed and distorted to bring out the extra low end and power in the sound.
Other sounds include burying the Zoom with shells, and dropping onto the poles and wires of the fence between the conservation area and the quarry.
The sounds were mixed and edited in Protools, and iZotope RX was used to remove background noise from the recordings. I spatialized the sounds based on their role in the piece and their envelope. Rather than simply assigning tracks to speakers, the sounds move around the space, and shape the work. The piece is realised in 7.1 surround sound.