Occasional posts on subjects including field recording, London history and literature, other websites worth looking at, articles in the press, and news of sound-related events.

14 July 2011

Wind-powered sound art in Cumbria

AMONG THE 2,167 recordings which successfully made it onto the British Library’s UK Soundmap project, was this from the Ulverston Flag Festival in Cumbria:

Cumbria has less than half the number of wind farms as the cluster stretching from Newcastle to Middlesborough along the north-east coast. But artistic exploitation of the wind seems to be popular in the county nonetheless. The other day an email arrived from the Nature Around Me website with a link to a video they’d made at Pierre Sauvageot’s wind-powered, noise-making array of instruments, titled Harmonic Fields. Birkrigg Common near Ulverston was the venue.

There were 500 instruments in the array and some 8,000 visitors came along to see and hear them in action between the 3rd and 5th of June this year. Those are impressive figures and the video of the event shows it was worth travelling a good distance to be there.

Earlier this year the homely tinkle of the windchime got out of control in Essex as complaints mounted over the numbers of them being hung up in cemeteries. A Daily Mail article featured some admittedly tasty photographs from Colchester to tickle the sniggerers and sneerers of this world. It quoted one Fred Thompson, 45, who wanted all the windchimes taken down: “I came here today to spend time at the grave of someone dear to me. I don’t want this noise for starters but they also look absolutely horrific.”

It could be worse. Imagine if the cemetery had the creaking windmill from the opening to Sergio Leone’s Once upon a time in the West.