Field-recording in Estonia: a lesson in being adaptable

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One of several telecommunication towers that rise above the farmlands of Mooste. It was in these objects that I found some of the greatest satisfaction during my one month of field recording in Estonia.


A late winter compromised my objectives in visiting Estonia. I had originally intended to explore the sounds of a frozen landscape however with moderately warmer temperatures than expected it was necessary to be flexible in what to record.

After only limited success in recording thin layers of ice on lakes and soft drops of snow on glass I had to face the fact that the weather conditions weren’t right for my intended outcomes. It was slightly difficult to give up these plans but with only a month to spend in Estonia it was important to find a new focus with my recordings.

It was at this stage that I turned my attention to the industrial and telecommunication infrastructure that dominate the village of Mooste. Ex-Soviet water-tanks, electrical fences and telecommunication towers became my new objects of interest.

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Visitors to this site may have already listened to some of my recordings of towers and fences in Mooste. Listening to the objects in situ I was always hypnotised by their deep and heavy resonance. Their tones seem to carry a weight of history that reflect the village itself.

Estonia, a country invaded and occupied by Russia, Germany, Sweden and Denmark throughout the centuries, was a somewhat difficult country to understand. During my month in Mooste I never really comprehended where I was, nor was I able to read the personalties of the local people. Although this was unsettling at times I am happy to have had my cultural perspectives challenged by this remote and relatively unknown part of the world.


Each day I walked through the village to outlying forested areas or to more localised industrial areas. These walks were documented by recordings of the village of which those using contact microphones are my personal favourites.

On my second-last afternoon I walked more than a kilometre to reach this telecommunications tower. I had seen it in the distance throughout my residency but it was only with John Grzinich’s recommendation that I took the time to record it.

As can be heard in these three recordings each of the supporting cables vibrated at different frequencies in just the smallest amount of wind. With contact microphones connected to the cables I sat and looked at the brown winter landscape that surrounded me all the while knowing that I would soon be back in the heat of the Australian summer listening to a completely different soundscape.

For artists of any medium who are interested in applying for the MoKS residency program please follow this link.

7 thoughts on “Field-recording in Estonia: a lesson in being adaptable

  1. I’ve really enjoyed all the recordings you’ve published during your trip. Your emphasis on the contact mic route has been fascinating and let us share sounds that even the locals probably never hear.

    How did your presentation go? Are you going to share some or all of it with us?


    1. It’s good to know that you enjoyed the recordings, it was all quite surreal standing with contact microphones and headphones in that unfamiliar space.
      The presentation was fine but I don’t think it was recorded – not too great a loss to humanity!


      1. I’ve also really enjoyed your latest recordings, I’m a big fan of contact mic sounds and I’ve found really impressed with your achievements. Thanks for share!


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