A small aside II: field recordings in animation

Chris Denaro is an animator from Brisbane. As part of his Doctorate in Visual Arts he used physical objects from the forest floor at Teerk Roo Ra National Park in Moreton Bay, Queensland and combined them with metal armatures. His objective was to study the psychological response to nocturnal life within the forest.

Chris requested to use one of my recordings of beetles as they swarmed our local valley last summer. The originality of the creature and its movements is fascinating, and once again I am more than happy to see a recording ending up in a very unexpected place.

More of Denaro’s videos can be found here.



A small aside: recontextualising field recordings

One of the things I enjoy about posting my field recordings and compositions on this site is the unexpected ways in which they might be used by people working in other disciplines. That the recordings don’t remain fixed within the context that I have given them but instead have their significance broadened in the hands of others is often quite heartening.

Impressions by Trent Thompson

Recently Trent Thompson, a thesis student studying architecture at the University of Toronto, asked if he could use a number of recordings for a film he was working on named Impressions. An edited version can be viewed here. Recordings I made in the frozen world of Estonia and here in Australia have been used to complement his images of urban life.

When asked about the film Trent said with the city as protagonist and witness, the series offers
a loose and sprawling pool of images and repeating themes.The fanatic pursuit of the suchness of things finds source in the absence of incident.

Through a post-curatorial method, stills are juxtaposed,related and contrasted. The selection and arrangement of content, played alongside non-synchronous urban murmurs, are skewed by compositional exaggerations. It is with this torsion from which stories are generated:

A field of readings, peculiar relations, instances of ambiguity, points of disunity, mental transitions.

This might be the first in a few posts looking at the work others have done with my recordings. Each from different backgrounds and different stories to tell.

The Colour of Sound: violet (final episode)


A short sample from Violet, the final colour to be interpreted in the Colour of Sound series.


Violet, the colour denoting the imperial ranks in Ancient Greece and Rome, was believed by Aristotle to be heard as an octave, a perfect interval that can be infinitely repeated. Contemporary studies into colour-sound theory are indebted to the work of Aristotle (384-322 BC) whose musings are thought to be the earliest exploration into the subject. His belief in the harmony of the spheres reverberated for centuries influencing scientists such as Isaac Newton in their quest to identify the colour of sound.

This is the final episode in the Radio National series. To listen to it in full visit the Soundproof website.

Radio National have the Colour of Sound as a featured series allowing you to listen to each of the episodes from one page. And now to the next project …

Writing about the Colour of Sound: an ABC Radio National feature

catchin the light

Image: Catching the light (Jacqueline Foss/Getty Images)

To accompany the Colour of Sound series on ABC Radio National I was asked to write an article describing the process behind the compositions and text. You can read this now as a featured article on the ABC Radio National website.

Here is a short excerpt:

Colour envelops us. A multitude of hues, both vivid and subtle, silently enter our visual system and affect our emotional states. We attach meaning to them; they become signifiers on a personal and cultural level.

And there is sound, a mercurial force. Its physical nature is elusive; once pronounced it ceases to exist. Sonic trails pass through us, raising emotions from personal histories.

A division: deaf to the world

We live in a visually-oriented culture, navigating the world with our eyes. This reliance on sight illustrates a disconnection that exists between the senses. Here listening is reduced to a secondary position.

The consequence? Our capacity to understand the spaces we inhabit is limited. Performing our daily tasks, this visual bias leaves us living in the shadows.

How much richer our lives would be if we perceived layers of visual and sonic matter equally. A rush of sound would reinvigorate our spatial perceptions and if we listened closely, really closely, might we hear the sound of colour?

To read the article in full please go to ABC Radio National.

Colour of Sound: Indigo


A short sample from Indigo. To listen to the full version go to ABC Soundproof.

In this penultimate episode of the Colour of Sound series we visit Isaac Newton as he investigates the nature of light and colour. It was Newton who formally identified the ROY-G-BIV colour spectrum after his experiments passing light through glass prisms.

Newton also attempted to connect colour with sound, a move which is often seen as an embarrassing blip in his career. He described each of the seven colours as musical intervals. Indigo, the colour of the supernatural, was described as a 6th interval.

Please go to ABC Soundproof to hear the episode in its entirety.

The colour of sound: orange


A short sample from the colour of sound: orange

To listen to the full version go to the Radio National Soundproof program.


Orange is the next colour to feature on the ABC Radio National series on colour and sound. In this episode we follow the story of Bainbridge Bishop who believed that sound could best be heard where two colours meet, that sonic energy vibrates between the shades of one colour to the next.

His inspiration?


Bishop describes the orange seen at twilight, a soft warm colour. It is this description that set the tone for this latest instalment in the Colour of Sound series.

I was happy to get the talented Australian actress Belinda McClory to read for this episode. Belinda might be familiar to you as the character Switch in The Matrix.

Only two more colours to go in the series, Indigo and Violet. I hope you get the chance to listen to them in the coming weeks.



The colour of sound: green


A short sample of Green.

To hear the full track go to the Soundproof website.

The second series of The Colour of Sound has commenced on Radio National’s Soundproof program. The first episode in the series is Green.

Green charts the story of the German scientist and philosopher David Gottlob Diez as he deliberates on the connection between sound, the planets, and colour. Diez connected green with Venus, its aurora shrouding the planet in a veil of celestial static.

Tune in to the rest of the ROY-G-BIV colour and sound spectrum over the next few weeks.