Wind in the wires: recording the sounds of the unearthly

Walking through local fields the sounds of wildlife envelope the listener. After years of living in this valley the chatter of birds, the pulsating stridulation of insects and the gurgle of creeks have become the sounds of home. However an experiment with contact microphones placed on various objects throughout the farm has unveiled a hidden soundscape.

telegraph pole copy
Wind causes electrical wires to vibrate in eerie tones. Stretched above cow paddocks their perfectly parallel lines produce a sound that is only heard with the aid of contact microphones. Best listened to with headphones …

This grain silo acts as a parabolic dish. As the silo’s frame slowly rusts the sounds of life continue to resonate through its sides. Here a plant taps against the silo while a plane passes overhead, the pulsating of an electric fence can be heard in the background.

Listening to the world through contact microphones is a reminder of how our understanding of the planet is informed through the limitations of our senses. What other sounds, sights and smells swarm around us? How little do we know the familiar?

4 thoughts on “Wind in the wires: recording the sounds of the unearthly

  1. As a child living in the Scottish countryside, far from traffic or any other man made noise, I used to hear this sound as I walked the mile and a half to school. Sixty five years later, listening to this recording I can imagine myself back there. Thank you for giving me this memory,


  2. I believe our appreciation of ” sound” is heavily ” culture” based as well as based on our Education. A sound tgat is noise to one becomes a beautifully rendered musical note to another- witness the ongoing debates surrounding the question ” what is music?”— growing up in a V diverse nation like Singapore- n increasingly Australia( thoh the variants present do recommend Melbourne n Sydney as gd examples of ” harmony in diversity”- yes growing up in multi- cultural surroundings do tend to make us more tolerant- even often more drawn- to differences so that sound heard can well become ” music” to ears that are receptive. My early Aussie visitors to SG took exception to the ” noise” surrounding Chinese funerals and Hindu weddings… Now, being more sensitized, many of them actually have become fond of these hitherto ” noise-bytes”– my old mate Ted included!!!’


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