Wind and Electricity: listening to an Estonian electric fence

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Regular visitors to this site may have listened to a recording I made of an electric fence a few months ago. The sound of the electrical pulse snapping through the contact microphones is quite dramatic. I had been tempted to record the electric fences here in Estonia too, but being unaware of their voltage I was hesitant to do so. However with only a few days left in Estonia I finally dared myself to connect my microphones to them.

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Near the MoKS residence is an electric fence stretching over bare hills into the distance. Perfect! After recording various sections along the fence I found that its tone changes depending on the direction that the wind strikes the cables and, perhaps, its distance from the power source. This is the first of four recordings I made. There is almost a delay effect reverberating through the cable as it sways in the wind.

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This second recording was made a few hundred metres further along the fence. A harsher, more distinct, generator sound replaces that of the first recording. It builds and fades yet the electrical pulse remains the same.

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On a windier section of the hillside the sound in this recording is higher in pitch. I’m not sure if this change is a reaction to the wind or if the cable itself may be different from other sections of the fence-line. There is a nice vibration that ascends and descends in pitch that is quite musical.

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This final recording was made as the wind was become slightly stronger. The low rumble reminds of reverb on an electric guitar. At times the wind can be heard above it granting the recording an idea of space and location.

Walking around the countryside it is amazing to think that these natural spaces have sounds such as these that we are oblivious to without the aid of contact microphones. These seemingly tranquil areas are filled with sound and it is discoveries like these today that maintain my interest in field recording, walking, travel and sound.

16 thoughts on “Wind and Electricity: listening to an Estonian electric fence

      1. Good luck, i”d be interested to hear what you produce because I am also using field recordings of electric fences for a composition due to be released in 2014 for the Unfathomless label.

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  1. Inspired!
    I’ll check my burgundian cow-videos for it’s possible to make a ‘special vid” for you, only on this present-absent subject.
    Do you have a pic from you recording on a fence in HD-resolution?

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      1. I was more thinking of the cow-stomachs, the sounds of gas and liquids…
        But I admit, considering your objection, that in this case, the common denominator would be electricity, in the fence, in the brain and in the recording. In the other case, electricity would be on one side, that of the fence and the recordings, with the body and its emissions on the other … difficult but interesting questions to be followed!

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