Newcastle University

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Sounds of Walking Chapter 5.4.3 Back Up The Long Wall sound work mp3 file

posted on 2024-02-27, 16:22 authored by Martin Paul EcclesMartin Paul Eccles

I was looking to create a work in a place that I could cover by walking and one that, to some extent, I knew. Over 16 summers and winters I had been censusing the bird population of a two-by-two-kilometre square in north Northumberland. Doubling the area by adding a kilometre both north and south, created a two-by-four-kilometre oblong; this was a familiar place, a place that matched my human scale.

I again took the metaphor of the Rant as the basis of the ‘chance process’ that I had used previously. This identified the 16 locations within the two-by-four-kilometre area, organised into the four steps of four Rants, along with recording durations, in the score. Walking on the summer solstice 2017, the longest day and the turning point of the year, I recorded my walking between the locations of the Rant steps in sequence (Rant 1 steps 1–4, Rant 2 steps 1–4, and so on) and at each I recorded the sounds of the place.

This presentation of the work was as a four-hour, stereo, radio broadcast at Radiophrenia 2020. With an incorporated studio recording of an intro and outro the Rants played in sequence (1–4) and were synchronized from the start of the walks of each step. This composition facilitated the incorporation of a studio recording of my reading of my accompanying poetry. As a consequence of rant 2 locations 1 and 4 being inaccessible, there were two periods of broadcast silence inside the work.

This work is one of six selected for submission alongside my PhD thesis. Many of the other works discussed in my thesis can be found through my website ( ) or Soundcloud (