7/11/2015. Bovine Reverberations


Yesterday I experienced the most incredible natural reverb I’ve ever heard. It was at Thompson’s Forrest, around 2pm within a pasture littered with boulders. The boulders dotted the earth, giving the impression of a graveyard of which the tombstones had become globules under heavy erosion. One exceptionally large one, on which we had lunch, bore some
scaled down resemblelance to the volcanic monolith I’m am now a resident (we got our one year stay visa).

Surrounding the pasture, like most parts of the island, were hills thick with trees, plants and vegetation. In equal parts familiar and highly exotic. This particular pasture seemed to be the bottom of a huge bowl. A huge bowl that I’d discover was a resonator.

We finished our lunch, on this rock on a rock, and we thumbed our way through an old guide to walks on the island. Having become lost and confused by our historical (and now irrelevant) walking guide, cows began galloping individually down the hill opposite. After a few had gathered at the bottom, huddled in a corner they began to call, possibly to the
ones left above.

Their gutteral vocalisations, ranging from deep bassy grunts to mid to high whines were astonishing. The range and complexity of their timbres beautiful. But like all of us, they found themselves within a place. My understanding of the science behind reverberation is quite limited, so I can only guess that the curvature of the landscape and a richochet off
of the forest created an incredible echo and reverb, and in exquistly obvious stereo.

The cows in the bottom left of a hillside would call, the echo would appear to the right and then a reverberation, stretched seemingly into forever on the hard right. I imagined this sound as a sheet being pulled over the hill, touching everthing until being eaten by the ocean and popping into extinction as water spray.

Unfortunately I was an unprepared witness, carrying only a small portable sound recorder that is unequipped to deal with the omni-present lashings of the wind. I recorded for 8 minutes. The recording captures this phenemona well, but is of course scattered with distorting low-end wind.