Solo Projects: Soundtrace


This project explored a soundscape produced naturally from a large block of melting ice and pebbles. It also involved stretched piano wire, guitar pick-ups, amplified clocks and metal objects. Oblique references to climate change and chaos theory combined with the sheer joy of a powerful soundscape that had its own autonomous existence.

Nothing remains the same.
No stasis ever.
Always in flux.
Things warm.
Ice melts.
Rocks shift.
Things fall down
Change forever.
Always changing.
Traces still remain.
Visible or soundtraces.
But only for a finite time.
Then shift, returning never.

Given the right equipment (a huge radio telescope) you can still hear the Big Bang when the universe came into being. Possibly, with appropriate equipment, they will still be able to hear traces of glaciers and ice caps melting in the late 21st century, huge shifts of heavy mass flow, the world changing irrevocably. Walt has a long interest in exploring sound and points in time. At the start of each day a block of ice was suspended from the ceiling by a chain. Embedded in the ice were a number of found small stones. As the ice melted, drops of water and the stones fell at random. These drops and stones made sounds on impact with a bucket, and, by accident, some hit one of the piano wires stretched across the installation space. Attached to the bucket and the wires were contact microphones. So the sound was amplified in real time, but also a trace of the sound was recorded by a device, which repeatedly played back the sound. At random the device reversed some of the sound events. The more events occurred at random the more dense the sound texture became. The soundscape that resulted was totally unpredictable and will never be repeated again. The architect of the soundscape was nature, a process full of random elements. An additional sound was that of an amplified clock that reminded us of the passage of time. This ran only until the clock was fully un-winded.

Soundtrace bucket & fallen stones