Flood sounds

A pair of hydrophones in a flooded creek

The valley where we live floods quite regularly. At their peak the floods usually quieten the neighbourhood animals, the near silence signalling a temporary change in the local ecosystem. Only once the waters recede do the sounds of frogs and birds return.

Interested in listening to the sounds of the floodwater I cast a pair of hydrophones into a local creek. There at the surface the hydrophones struggled against the current and produced an ascending bubbling effect. The hydrophones became both the subject and object of  their own recording.


A tangled electric fence-line struggles in the floodwater

An adjacent creek provided the potential for recording more sounds. A fence-line swayed back and forth in the rush of water. Expecting to hear a high-pitched drone I was surprised to instead listen to a low frequency vibrating through the line. It was a nice contrast to the previous recording.

This little field recording sojourn was a good reminder to listen to familiar objects in new ways. After a decade of passing these creeks each day it is rewarding to be aware of their different (auditory) properties. What else sits before us that we have become deaf to?


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