Baikal Ice: Recording and Interpreting the Sounds of the Environment

The “Baikal Ice” CD represents a sustained exploration, in sound, of a specific place. The techniques and practices involved in both the recording and in the composition of the recorded material relate to a long-standing themes for the researcher. These themes include an exploration of the relationship between landscape and soundscape, the extent to which our sense of place is affected by sound, and the issue of whether the creative practice of sound may provide an innovative perspective on our environment.

Lake Baikal, in Siberia, is a unique place that has been designated a UN World Heritage site. It is the world’s oldest and deepest lake and holds one fifth of the planet’s fresh water within its 600 kilometre length. Its ecology is equally impressive, with many indigenous plants and animals. The climate is extreme and in winter the lake is covered by over a metre thick ice sheet.

The researcher travelled to the lake’s more accessible southern tip in April/May 2003, to record the spring ice break-up. Although melting takes weeks there are a few days when the ice finally disappears and the lake becomes open water again. It is a spectacular and moving transformation. Many recordings were made including the sounds of local people, this latter designed to evoke a sense of their way of life.

Of particular importance to this project was experimentation with different microphones, including self-made underwater hydrophones, which proved especially effective at recording the ice, revealing sonic effects not audible above water.

Baikal Ice is available to buy on www.RERMegacrop.com

 

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